Skip to main content

Together we are beating cancer

Donate now
  • Science & Technology
  • Health & Medicine

Pint of Science 2015: from cows to cancer clinical trials

by Nick Peel | Analysis

1 May 2015

0 comments 0 comments

Liquid nitrogen science

In just a few weeks’ time, people will be gathering in venues up and down the country to hear the nation’s top minds discuss the latest developments in science.

But these won’t be held in dusty old academic lecture theatres. Quite the opposite – a simple public house will be the informal setting for these scenes of scientific discourse.

Pint of Science has been running since 2012, bringing together a smorgasbord of big research names and science-hungry members of the public.

And some of our own leading researchers will be there too.

So what will they be discussing this year? Here’s a breakdown of the key events running across the UK that our scientists are involved in. Book your tickets quickly as these sessions are very popular!


Tailoring treatment for groups of patients, or even for single patients, is a big focus for cancer research and treatment. But to do this effectively, scientists are searching for smarter ways of linking up the frontline lab research with clinical trials that test new treatments.

At the Jekyll & Hyde pub on 18th May, Dr Chris Tselepis and Professor Pam Kearns will be taking their audience on a journey from the lab bench to the patient’s bedside.


The personalised medicine theme continues on 20th May at The Green in Clerkenwell, London. Dr Michael R Barnes will be looking at how the information in a patient’s entire genetic code – known as their ‘genome’ – could be used to guide treatment. And Professor Mark Caulfield will be focussing on the Government’s ‘100,000 genomes’ project that’s looking to read the genetic code of 100,000 NHS patients.

But revelations in the lab have to be translated to treatments or diagnostic tools that will ultimately help people affected by cancer. Turning their focus to how this works, on 19th May, also at The Green, Dr Alastair Ironside, Dr Karim Brohi and Professor Atholl Johnston will cover topics ranging from how understanding breast density could help prevent the disease, to research tackling trauma, and the benefit people can get from taking part in clinical trials.

Cancer is complicated, so could a fresh pair of eyes give research a boost? Dr Silva Zakian, Dr Daniel Burnham, Hazal Bursa Kose and Dr Tim Van Acker will be at the Somers Town Coffee House on 18th May, explaining how expertise from across scientific disciplines is combining to give promising results for different types of cancer.

Ever wondered how a cow might help us understand the ways cancer can spread? Professor John Marshall has, and along with Dr Adrienne Morgan, will be at The Green in Clerkenwell on 18th May giving a whistle-stop tour of how cancer cells behave and their work translating this knowledge into potential new ways to treat the disease.


Scientists in Cambridge are logging on to their computers to share the exciting work translating genetic data into new information about cancer.

What makes a cat different from a whale? And how might this help us learn about how cancer evolves? Here’s a clue: it’s got something to do with genes. Dr Camille Berthelot will reveal all, at The Architect on 19th May, where Dr James Hadfield will also be lifting the lid on the complex technology that allows scientists to read a patient’s DNA code.

You may have heard people talking about stem cells, but what actually are they? Dr Michaela Frye will be trying to answer this as part of a stem cells extravaganza at the Pantom Arms on 19th May.


At The English Lounge on 20th May, Dr Allan Jordan will be discussing how scientists go about developing and testing new cancer drugs.


At the Hen and Chicken on 19th May Professor Paul Martin – about whom you can read more in this blog post – will be asking: ‘How can fish help us understand cancer?’ Dr Sally Malik will be exploring how cancer cells can adapt and co-opt other proteins into helping them grow and survive, and Jess Campbell will be focussing on how cancer spreads, paying particular attention to what happens when a cancer cell encounters a normal, healthy cell.


And, finally, it wouldn’t be a series of talks about breakthrough cancer research without a session about one of the hottest topics around: immunotherapy.

At the Juniper Berry on 18th May, Dr Chern Lee will be exploring a fascinating twist on immune-targeting treatments with his research on how the immune system can be used to treat cancers affecting the immune system itself.

And our own chief clinician, Professor Peter Johnson, will take a more holistic look at the immunotherapy field, saying: “For years we have treated cancer in ways that do not depend upon the body’s natural defences. All this is changing.”


  • For general information about Pint of Science, and to browse the rest of the events visit the website.