Department of Oncology


Information about the Department


The University Department of Oncology is one of the constitutive departments of the Cancer Research Cluster within the School of Clinical Medicine at the University of Cambridge, and encompasses members from both the University and NHS.

The Cancer Research Cluster as a whole contains approximately 90-100 graduate students and admits approximately 30 new students each year (90-95% PhD and 5-10% MPhil).

The Department of Oncology is also an integral part of the Regional Cancer Centre, established as one of 34 nationwide networks by the UK government in 2000 to improve delivery of cancer care throughout the UK.

Our mission is:

" To deliver the best possible care for patients, offer a world class environment for laboratory and clinical research and provide education and training programmes that generate world class oncology clinicians and research scientists".

The Department is based within 6 sites on or close to the Cambridge Biomedical Research Campus, which encompasses Addenbrooke's Hospital (the Cambridge University Teaching Hospital) and a number of internationally renowned Research Institutes and University of Cambridge Departments. Our location on the Biomedical Research Campus provides access to state of the art research and clinical facilities and enables close collaboration with world class laboratory scientists and clinicians. Please click on the following links for further information about our sites:

Research within the Department focuses on developing and improving methods of diagnosis, treatment and prevention of cancers and is funded mainly by Cancer Research UK (CRUK), the Medical Research Council (MRC) and the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre. Our research interests can be divided into 3 broad disciplines Basic Laboratory Research, Clinical & Translational Research and Clinical Trials. Many of our Research Group Leaders are also practicing clinicians, which ensures strong links between our laboratory science and its clinical application.

The strength of our research was recognised in 2001 when the Regional Cancer Centre became a designated translational research centre and also in October 2006 when it was named as one of 17 centres for experimental cancer medicine in the country; information about the Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC) Network can be found at:

In the 2008 Research assessment Exercise (RAE), the Department staff featured in the University of Cambridge submission to the ''Cancer Studies Theme of Assessment', along with the Departments of Pathology and Haematology. The result of this assessment was that 35% of the profile of our submissions was awarded a 4* grading (world-leading in terms of originality, significance and rigour) and 40% was awarded a 3* grading (internationally excellent in terms of originality, significance and rigour). We were also ranked second in the Times Higher Education analysis of profiles submitted to the 'Cancer Studies Theme of Assessment'.

The Head of Department is Professor Sir Bruce Ponder FRS, who was awarded a Knighthood for 'Services to Medicine' in the 2008 New Year's Honours list. Professor Sir Ponder is also Director of the Cambridge Cancer Centre; Co-Director of the Hutchison/MRC Research Centre; Honorary NHS Consultant; departmental Research Group Leader; Cancer Research UK Gibb Fellow; and former Director of the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute, former Co-Director of Oncology at Strangeways Research laboratory and former Li Ka Shing Professor of Oncology.