Professor Sarah Danson BMedSci, BMBS, MSc, PhD, FRCP

Department of Oncology & Metabolism
Weston Park Hospital
Whitham Road
Sheffield
S10 2SJ
UK

Office: Room 227, WPH

Tel: +44 (0)114 226 5235
Fax: +44 (0)114 226 5364

email: s.danson@sheffield.ac.uk

Biography

I am a Professor of Medical Oncology in the University of Sheffield and Honorary Consultant in Medical Oncology at Weston Park Hospital, Sheffield. I qualified in 1996 from the University of Nottingham and was a Specialist Registrar and Cancer Research UK Clinical Research Fellow in Pharmacology at the Christie Hospital, Manchester before moving to Sheffield in November 2006.

Research Interests

My clinical and research interests are in melanoma and lung cancer. My background is in the early clinical assessment of new anticancer agents. Sheffield is an `Experimental Cancer Medicine CentreĀ“ and its aims are to expand the early clinical trial portfolio and produce associated translational work. I am ECMC Lead and a member of the NIHR/CRUK Alliance steering committee. I am NIHR National Speciality Lead for Cancer: Early Phase Trials. I am principal investigator on many early phase trials.

Melanoma is on the increase and this is not all due to excess sun exposure. I chair the Sheffield Melanoma Research Group which has obtained collaborative grants. Funding was obtained from Weston Park Hospital Cancer Charity to look for epidemiology and biological features of cutaneous melanoma (principal investigators: Professor Sarah Danson, Dr Angela Cox, Dr Dawn Teare, Dr Kevin Walters, Dr Andrew McDonagh, Dr David Hughes). 87 patients were enrolled into the GEMS study (Genetics and Epidemiology of Melanoma in Sheffield). Translational work on the samples is complete and the manuscript is being written. The Weston Park Cancer Charity has also funded a grant to identify novel genes regulating the development of uveal melanoma metastases (principal investigators: Dr Karen Sisley, Professor Sarah Danson, Professor Ian Rennie). We enrol patients into clinical trials for melanoma if at all possible. I am past Chair of the Rare Tumour Group, which aims to increase trial activity in less common cancers such as melanoma. Recent studies include agents targeting VEGF (AVAST-M) and MEK inhibitors (PACMEL, DOKMEK and COLUMBUS). AVAST-M and RADVAN recently completed accrual and the interim results of AVAST-M have been published in the Lancet Oncology. I am clinical supervisor for an NIHR fellow investigating the support needs of patients with melanoma. I co-supervised a CR-UK/YCR fellowship looking at JAK2 in haematological malignancies and cutaneous melanoma. I am supervising a pre-doctoral CRUK bursary on toxicities of melanoma systemic treatments. Sheffield is one of three large centres for the treatment of uveal melanoma in the UK. We were top recruiters for the SUAVE study of dacarbazine versus sunitinib in metastactic uveal melanoma. We have recently opened the SELPAC trial in the same disease group using the MEK inhibitor selumetinib which has activity in this tumour type. I am Yorkshire and Humber subspeciality lead for skin cancer with overview of the trial portfolio.

Thoracic malignancies cause major morbidity and mortality throughout the world. We recently completed a collaborative study with a PhD student between the Department of Oncology and the Department of Psychology to look at the role of smoking status in attitudes to disease and treatment and Quality of Life (Chief investigators Dr Sarah Danson and Professor Christine Eiser). This was funded by WPH General Trust Funds and enrolled 296 patients with lung cancer over 3 years. I am currently supervising a CASE studentship in collaboration with AstraZeneca and Sheffield Children's Hospital looking at next generation sequencing in lung cancer. The incidences of lung cancer and mesothelioma are high in North Trent, clinical trials have been infrequent in these patient groups but we have accrued well due to a committed team of oncologists, thoracic surgeons, pathologists and radiologists. I am EORTC Chief investigator on the SPLENDOUR study of denosumab in non-small cell lung cancer. The rapidly changing clinical portfolio for lung cancer includes trials of cytotoxic agents and novel drugs (for example HSP90 inhibitors and vaccines).I have supervised PhD studentships on chK1 in small cell lung cancer; smoking status and quality of life in lung cancer; next generation sequencing in NSCLC; and AURKA expression and radiosensitivity in NSCLC.

Teaching Interests

My undergraduate teaching involves one to one teaching in clinic and on the ward and lecturing on the MSC in Translational Oncology course. Postgraduate interests include teaching to all grades of doctor in a wide variety of fields such as oncology (on the systemic cancer chemotherapy course), dermatology, plastic surgery and respiratory medicine.

Professional Activities

I am a member of:

NIHR National Speciality Lead for Cancer: Early Phase Trials
NCRI Skin Cancer Group
EORTC Melanoma Group
EORTC Lung Group

Key Publications

Please see the link to the right.