Stem Cells, Regenerative Medicine and Cancer

One of the greatest challenges of the 21st century is disease associated with ageing. Cancer, neurodegeneration and heart disease are all major causes of death and have an enormous impact on quality of life.

Over recent years, a revolution in biology has meant that effective regenerative medicine, using stem cells to replace and repair damaged tissue is now on the horizon. Naturally occurring ‘immortal’ stem cells are present in all tissues of the body and act to replace loss of cells in tissues with rapid turnover, for example in the skin, blood or intestine, or to repair damage as in wound healing.

Harnessing the power of stem cells to regenerate damaged tissue in a range of diseases, or to generate tissue for organ repair following radical surgery, is a key goal. Yet how we can effectively manipulate stem cells for therapeutic use, and how we ensure their survival, for example after transplantation, remain major challenges.

The identification of physiological stem cells that regenerate tissues led to the discovery of stem-like cells in cancer. Cancer stem cells are resistant to therapy and provide a reservoir of cells able to regenerate tumours with their associated genetic heterogeneity, even many years after apparently successful therapy. Understanding the origins of cancer stem cells, how they are activated, and how they can be eradicated are key goals that must be met if we are to develop effective anti-cancer therapies.

The Oxford Stem Cell Institute (OSCI) was established in 2008 with funding from the Oxford Martin School and seeded multiple interdisciplinary collaborations and facilitated applications for substantial external funding. The OSCI comprises over 45 core and affiliated  laboratories across Oxford and recognizes that the development of more effective stem cell and anti-cancer therapies would benefit from cross-disciplinary research that breaks the traditional taxonomic barriers boundaries between cancer, development and regenerative medicine.


CRUK Oxford Cancer Centre Symposium - June 23rd, 2017

Saïd Business School

The annual Cancer Centre Symposium showcases the strength and breadth of Oxford's cancer research programme and features cross-departmental and interdisciplinary partnerships supporting translational cancer research. The Symposium also provides opportunities to network and establish new collaborations.For registration see:


Oxford Stem Cell Institute Annual Symposium in collaboration with OXSTEM - November 7th and 8th , 2018

St John's College, University of Oxford

Two days symposium will be held in collaboration with OxStem showcasing presentations by leading scientists in stem cells research.



Richard Gardner Lecture - November 9th, 2018  Prof  Giuseppe Pelicci

MSTC Auditorium   16.00

Giuseppe Pelicci is a world leader in stem cell research, his laboratory has contributed to the preliminary understanding of the self-renewal properties of cancer stem cells (in leukemias and mammary tumors), showing that they possess: i) increased replicative potential due to the up-regulation of the cell-cycle inhibitor p21 and the prevention of excess DNA-damage accumulation; ii) increased frequency of symmetric divisions, due to p53 inactivation.

For examples of his recent work see:


Oxford Transcription and Chromatin Meeting - December 7th and 8th, 2017

Oxford Martin School

The two-day conference takes place in the prestigious Oxford Martin School  in the heart of Oxford. The meeting arose from the idea to invite scientists in Oxford who work on Transcription and Chromatin with the aim to nucleate ideas and to enhance creative exchange and discussions. Topics ranges from the role of ubiquitin in regulation of transcriptional responses, to the interaction of enhancers and promoters within their natural chromatin landscape, to regulation of transcription by oxygen.