Cancer Research UK has appointed world-leading cancer researcher Professor Sir David Lane FRS as its first Chief Scientist.

Professor Lane, one of the world’s ‘superstars of biomedicine’, discovered the p53 protein which plays a central role in preventing cancer.

In half of all cancers, including breast, bowel, lung, prostate and skin, the protein is damaged or inactivated.

Scientists are currently researching ways to repair or reactivate p53 in the tumours of patients.

Professor Lane’s work has been funded by Cancer Research UK for over 30 years.

He will join the charity on a part-time basis, enabling him to continue his existing appointments as well as research responsibilities, in both the UK and Singapore.

He currently leads Singapore’s Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology (IMCB) as well as the Experimental Therapeutics Centre, which are both part of the country’s Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). A*STAR today announced that he will also chair its Biomedical Research Council (BMRC) with effect from 1 July 2007.

In addition, Professor Lane is Director of the Cancer Research UK Cell Transformation Research Group and Professor of Oncology at the University of Dundee in Scotland, where his group is discovering new ways to control p53.

Professor Lane said: “Cancer is a global problem requiring a global effort to research the causes of the disease and find new ways to prevent and treat it.

“This exciting new role at Cancer Research UK offers a unique opportunity to help shape the future of cancer science. The charity is now a major international organisation that can have a world leading role in the fight against cancer.

“In addition, collaboration between the UK and Singapore will bring enormous benefits to both countries’ translational research programmes.”

Harpal Kumar, Chief Executive of Cancer Research UK, said: “We’re delighted to appoint David as our Chief Scientist following his long association with the charity.

“His experience and expertise will make a significant contribution to Cancer Research UK’s scientific strategy.

“He will help shape the vision for our scientific work over the next ten to twenty years and provide leadership to the cancer research community across the UK.”

Professor Lane will formally take up the new post of Chief Scientist at Cancer Research UK in January 2008 but will be spending time with the charity throughout 2007. He will be a member of both the charity’s Executive and Scientific Executive Boards.


For more information, a photograph or to request an interview with Professor Lane, please contact the Cancer Research UK press office on 020 7061 8300.


Professor Sir David Lane

Professor Sir David Lane was born in 1952. After his BSc and PhD he worked with Lionel Crawford at Cancer Research UK’s London Research Institute and discovered p53. He then worked at the Cold Spring Harbor labs in New York before setting up his own lab with Cancer Research UK support first at Imperial College, then at the charity’s Clare Hall lab and finally in Dundee. He was the founder of Cyclacel, now an established cancer drug discovery company. He has served on many Cancer Research UK scientific committees especially promoting translational research. He has won many international prizes including the Paul Ehrlich prize and is a member of the European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO), a Fellow of the Royal Society, the Royal Society of Edinburgh, the Royal College of Pathologists and the Academy of Medical Sciences. He has published over 250 papers and co-authored a book on antibody methods. He was knighted in 2000.

Cancer Research UK

Together with its partners and supporters, Cancer Research UK’s vision is to beat cancer. The charity carries out world-class research to improve understanding of the disease and find out how to prevent, diagnose and treat different kinds of cancer. It ensures that its findings are used to improve the lives of all cancer patients. Cancer Research UK helps people to understand cancer, the progress that is being made and the choices each person can make. The charity works in partnership with others to achieve the greatest impact in the global fight against cancer. For further information about Cancer Research UK’s work or to find out how to support the charity, please call 020 7009 8820 or visit our homepage.

Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR)

The Agency for Science, Technology and Research, or A*STAR, is Singapore’s lead agency for fostering world-class scientific research and talent for a vibrant knowledge-based Singapore. A*STAR actively nurtures public sector research and development in Biomedical Sciences, Physical Sciences and Engineering, with a particular focus on fields essential to Singapore’s manufacturing industry and new growth industries. It oversees 14 research institutes and supports extramural research with the universities, hospital research centres and other local and international partners. At the heart of this knowledge intensive work is human capital. Top local and international scientific talent drive knowledge creation at A*STAR research institutes. The Agency also sends scholars for undergraduate, graduate and post-doctoral training in the best universities, a reflection of the high priority A*STAR places on nurturing the next generation of scientific talent. For more information, visit

University of Dundee

The University of Dundee has powered its way to a position as one of Scotland’s leading universities with an international reputation for excellence, particularly in the field of life sciences and medical research. The Colleges of Life Sciences and Medicine, Dentistry and Nursing accommodate more than 1500 researchers working in key areas such as cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimers and tropical and parasitic diseases. The University was awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher Education in 2006 for its work in drug discovery. For more information, visit


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