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  • Writer's pictureCarley Batley

Urological Malignancies programme member Dr. James Jones takes clinical lectureship

Dr. James Jones, a graduate of the University of Cambridge MB/PhD programme and Urological Malignancies member, begins his clinical lectureship this month. Dr. Jones's principal research interest is how the tumour microenvironment affects the outcomes of cancer treatments, and how clinicians might modify the microenvironment to improve the success of further therapies.

Dr. Jones completed his PhD with Professor Doug Fearon, working on the tumour microenvironment in pancreatic cancer. His work on the interaction between wound healing and immune responses in tumours led to a phase I trial with cancer patients.

In 2016, Dr. Jones joined Jacqui Shields Lab as an academic clinical fellow and has continued his work on the tumour microenvironment, investigating the role of neutrophil extracellular traps.

Dr. Jones is also working on the NAXIVA trial, assessing the effect of the drug axitinib on a group of patients with ‘venous tumour thrombus’, where the cancer has invaded the major veins draining the kidney and returning to the heart. He is particularly interested in understanding unique aspects of the kidney cancer microenvironment which allow it to spread in this aggressive way. Dr. Jones said: “[NAXIVA] offers us a unique opportunity to study the effects of tyrosine kinase inhibitors on the tumour microenvironment, to learn how we might better combine these drugs with other treatments in future.”

Dr. Jones is working with the Urological Malignancies team to set up a Personalised Renal Cancer programme in Cambridge. In this programme, patients with advanced kidney cancer will get a detailed genetic and immune profile at diagnosis, with the aim of selecting more effective treatment and giving patients a better understanding of their cancer. Dr. Jones and colleagues hope to recruit patients to the programme from early 2021.

As a clinical lecturer, Dr. Jones will divide his time between clinical work in the oncology department and the research laboratory at the MRC cancer unit. “I’m really enjoying this mix as it allows me to see the key clinical problems for cancer patients, which informs my research questions.” Alongside clinical work, Dr. Jones is also a fellow at Christ’s College, Cambridge, teaching physiology and pathology to first- and second-year medical students.

The Urological Malignancies programme congratulates Dr. James Jones on this new milestone in his career and we look forward to his contributions to clinical research and education in the Department of Oncology.

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