Previous successes

Thomas Helleday

Thomas Helleday was appointed lecturer at the University of Sheffield in 2000 and ran his research group at the Institute for Cancer Studies under the supervision of Professor Mark Meuth, while keeping a small team in Stockholm. Whilst at Sheffield, Thomas’s team was the first to describe the sensitivity of homologous recombination defective cancers to PARP inhibitors (Helleday 2003 US8859562B2, Bryant et al., 2005 Nature 434, 913-7), exemplifying the synthetic lethality concept for the treatment of cancer.

In 2007, he was recruited as a professor of cancer therapeutics at the MRC/CRUK Institute for Radiation Oncology and Biology at the University of Oxford before leaving in 2012, to become the Torsten and Ragnar Söderberg Jubilee Professorship of Translational Medicine and Chemical Biology at the Science for Life laboratory at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden. In 2018, Professor Helleday briefly returned to the University of Sheffield as the founding Director of the Weston Park Cancer Center. Prof. Helleday retains an Honorary Chair at the University of Sheffield. Today, numerous PARP inhibitors are approved for the treatment of HRD ovarian and breast cancers, with pending regulatory approvals for prostate and pancreatic cancer. PARP inhibitors in BRCA mutated cancer showcase the synthetic lethal concept of cancer, a concept that many novel targeted therapies
are using.

Rob Coleman

Professor Robert (Rob) Coleman graduated in medicine from Kings College Hospital Medical School in 1978 and trained in London and Edinburgh before moving to Sheffield in 1991. Rob spent his senior career at the University of Sheffield, where he was instrumental in developing clinical cancer research and establishing an internationally respected bone oncology research team.

Rob’s team identified the importance of treatment to the bone in human cancers and conducted numerous practice changing trials in breast (e.g. N Engl J Med. 2011 Oct 13;365(15):1396-405, Lancet. 2019 Apr 6;393(10179):1440-1452) and prostate cancer. Rob has held many leadership roles, published over 450 peer-reviewed, is a past president of the Cancer and Bone Society and the founding editor of Journal of Bone Oncology. Professor Coleman was Deputy Chair and on the Board of Trustees at St Luke’s Hospice (2010-2020), on the Board of Trustees for the national charity, Breast Cancer Campaign/Breast Cancer Now (2010-2018) and a Partner Governor on behalf of the University of Sheffield for the Council of Governors at Doncaster and Bassetlaw NHS Foundation Trust (2017-2020). He remains a Board member for Weston Park Cancer Charity (since 2014). Since retiring in 2017, he remains research active, lectures on his areas of expertise around the world and provides consultancy to a range of pharma and biotech companies developing new oncology treatments.

Freddie Hamdy

Freddie Hamdy trained in Surgery and Urology at Liverpool, Sheffield and Newcastle. He was appointed founding Chair of Urological surgery in 1999 at the University of Sheffield and subsequently became the Director of the Division of Clinical Sciences and Head of Oncology. Whilst at Sheffield, he set up and ran the NIHR ProtecT trial, with co-chief investigators from Cambridge and Bristol.

This is the largest prospective treatment (and later screening) trial of men with prostate cancer and have gone on to change the management of many, many men (N Engl J Med. 2016 Oct 13;375(15):1415-1424, N Engl J Med. 2016 Oct 13;375(15):1425-1437, N Engl J Med. 2023 Apr 27;388(17):1547-1558). After 10 years, Freddie left Sheffield to become the Nuffield Professor of Surgery and Head of the Nuffield Department of Surgery, at the University of Oxford, as well as Fellow of Balliol College. He was elected Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2007 and NIHR Senior Investigator in 2010.

Moira White

Moira White is a respiratory physician who trained in London (St Bartholomew’s Hospital Medical College, Hammersmith Hospital, Royal Postgraduate Medical School and Imperial Cancer Research Fund), after MRC and then Wellcome Clinical Fellowships. Moira was appointed Professor of Respiratory Medicine and subsequently Sir George Franklin Professor of Medicine at the University of Sheffield.

Moira made major contributions to our understanding of molecular mechanisms regulating leukocyte death and survival at inflamed sites, particularly the inflamed lung. Whilst in Sheffield, Moira built a stellar team of clinical and non-clinical academics that have become leaders in their own right. In 2014 Whyte moved to become the Sir John Crofton Professor of Respiratory Medicine, University of Edinburgh and Head of the University of Edinburgh Medical School in 2016.

She has been Vice-Principal and Head of the College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine since 2018 and a trustee of Cancer Research UK since 2020. Moira was elected Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2005 from Sheffield and Officer of the Order of the British Empire for services to respiratory medicine in the 2014 New Year Honours. In 2018, she was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. She is a member of MRC Strategy Board and Chair of the MRC Training and Careers Group and is Chair of
Sub-panel 1 (Clinical Medicine) for the UK’s Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021.