Using Spatial Transcriptomics to Support Accurate Decision-making in Early Stage Prostate Cancer

Dr Alastair Lamb is a Clinician Scientist, Senior Fellow in Robotic Surgery and Honorary Consultant Urologist based at the Nuffield Department of Surgery and the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. He completed his medical training in Oxford and Cambridge, and specialised at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne. Alaistair’s research aims to define micrometastatic disease in high risk prostate cancer, focusing on the cancer cells that spread into the lymphatic and blood systems.

Prostate cancer, like other cancers, sheds cells into the lymphatic and blood systems of the pelvis and abdomen and yet little is known about the potential of such cells to form new tumours, nor their genomic status, particularly in high risk ‘localised’ prostate cancer. Understanding these features of an individual’s tumour in more detail will support clinicians in determining differences between different patients tumours and to better tailor treatments accordingly. Alastair and his team aim to discover whether genetic and transcriptomic features of the tumour, the microenvironment and circulating cancer cells correlate with sensitivity to a variety of chemotherapeutic, radiation or surgical treatments. A particular focus of Alastair’s team is to assess spatial heterogeneity in levels of specific transcripts to help identify previously ignored epigenetic phenomena that could give insight into how prostate cancer progresses and responds to treatment.

Within Oxford Alastair collaborates amongst others with the Mark Howarth Laboratory (Department of Biochemistry). Further collaborators are Dr Joakim Lundeberg (SciLifeLab, Universities of Stockholm and Uppsala), Dr Hans Lilja (Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre, New York), Dr Tamir Chandra (The University of Edinburgh)

Alastair’s work is funded by CRUK, Prostate Cancer UK, the Academy of Medical Sciences, and UCare.