Personal profile

Research interests

Claire Perks completed her PhD from the University of Bristol in 1995, in which she studied ‘The Role of the IGF axis in the Ovary’ in relation to fertility. She then continued these studies as a Postdoctoral Research Scientist at The Royal Veterinary College, University of London before joining The University of Bristol (UoB) as a Research Associate in the Department of Surgery. Claire is currently an Associate Professor in Tumour Cell Biology and leads the Cancer Endocrinology group in the Bristol Medical School based at Southmead Hospital. 

The Cancer Endocrinology Group is based in the Learning and Research Building at Southmead Hospital, that facilitates their collaborations with clinical colleagues that specialise in breast, urological and colorectal cancers. With the increasing prevalence of obesity, patients in Western societies are now likely to present with co-morbid conditions such as diabetes. The group pursues collaborative multi-disciplinary research projects to delineate the impact of altered metabolic conditions on cancer, to determine ways in which risk and progression can be ameliorated and treatment optimised. We have a particular interest in insulin-like growth factors that are complex fundamental, nutritionally dependent regulators of growth and metabolism and together with insulin, have been increasingly associated with cancers linked to a Western diet and lifestyle.  The team performs mechanistic studies using cell lines to understand the molecular processes underpinning a range of phenotypes important for tumour development, including proliferation, survival, migration, and invasion.  The team also plays an integral role in clinical studies, through analysis of human samples, including tissue and blood. Our overall aim is to identify better and more effective ways of treating patients and our work may even allow us to implement ways of intervening to prevent the cancer developing. We also hope that this work will highlight the negative impact that obesity/type 2 diabetes can have on how cancers develop and respond to treatment. This may empower people to take positive approaches to tackling obesity/type 2 diabetes to benefit from the improved health that could be achieved.


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