Translational & Radiation Biology Research

Translational Radiation Biology research group


Our aim is to understand how cancers respond to therapies (conventional radiotherapy, chemotherapy and targeted therapies), and what mediates their resistance - by understanding resistance mechanisms we hope to develop novel means to improve response.

We are also interested in the mechanisms and processes that regulate cancer dissemination and spread (metastasis), particularly one of the earliest stages of metastasis, lymphovascular invasion – understanding such processes will provide ways to inhibit cancer metastasis.



Research issues

The majority of our research focuses on breast cancer but we also have a keen interest, and ongoing research, in melanoma, ovarian and pancreatic cancer.

What are we doing about...

1. Mechanisms of disease progression and therapeutic response?

We conduct biomarker based studies examining markers of resistance/response (stratified/personalised medicine) and in vitro cell based research investigating cell & molecular mechanisms of disease progression and therapeutic response. We have active research collaborations with groups in Nottingham (notably the Breast Cancer Pathology Group and the Translational DNA Repair Group), in other UK institutes and with EU and US based groups.

We have shown, from histopathology based investigations, that lymphovascular invasion (LVI) is essentially, in breast cancer and melanoma, invasion of cancer cells into lymphatic vessels rather than blood vessels.

Such translational findings have been followed up, and are ongoing, with research into lymphatic biology using a number of in vitro based models to understand the mechanisms that regulate metastatic spread


2. Response to anticancer therapies?

A major component of our work focuses upon the calpain system of proteases, and their endogenous inhibitor calpastatin, and the role this system plays in regulating not only LVI but how cells respond to anticancer therapies (conventional radiotherapy and chemotherapy, and novel targeted therapies).

Understanding how cancers respond to therapies led us to examine regulation of redox homeostasis – we focus upon the thioredoxin system of proteins and are investigating how these proteins mediate resistance.

By altering the levels of these proteins, via pre-existing or novel drugs, we aim to improve the efficacy of conventional therapies with a long term aim of improving cancer survival.


3. Cellular radiation biology?

Our third area of research interest is cellular radiation biology, particularly translational aspects looking at combining novel anticancer drugs with radiotherapy to improve response rates.

Current projects

The group, led by Dr Stewart Martin, Associate Professor and Reader in Cancer and Radiation Biology, consists of postdoctoral scientists, a senior research technician and PhD students and has 3 main research projects that are being investigated:

  1. An investigation of the cellular and molecular control of lymphatic invasion and metastasis
  2. Investigating, and targeting, cellular redox systems in cancer
  3. Predicting and improving radiotherapy outcome in cancer 

Find out more.



Research Team of the Year 2012 (Breast Cancer Campaign)

The Translational & Radiation Biology Research Group was awarded 'Research team of the year, 2012' by the Breast Cancer Campaign. It has attracted funding from a number of sources including: Association for International Cancer Research, Breast Cancer Campaign, Breast Cancer Research Trust, British Skin Foundation, Cancer Research UK, Technology Strategy Board (KTP), and the Wellcome Trust.



See more publications in leading peer-reviewed journals under the profiles of our researchers.

Radiation Biology Facility

The group runs a cabinet irradiation facilityPDF format (X-rays) as a central resource that is available to internal or external users interested in conducting radiation biology research. 



Translational & Radiation Biology Research

School of Medicine
The University of Nottingham
Nottingham City Hospital
Hucknall Road, NG5 1PB

telephone: +44 (0) 115 969 1169 ext 47612