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Professor Johann de Bono

Team Leader

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Professor Johann de Bono is Head of the Division of Clinical Studies and an international expert in the development of molecularly targeted cancer therapies against adult cancers. He runs one of the world’s largest phase I clinical trials units for cancer and has also led phase III trials of the prostate cancer drugs abiraterone and cabazitaxel. Team: Medicine (de Bono) Drug Development Unit
Team: Prostate Cancer


Professor Johann de Bono is the Regius Professor of Cancer Research and a Professor of Experimental Cancer Medicine at The Institute of Cancer Research. He is also an honorary consultant in medical oncology at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust. Professor de Bono leads the Prostate Cancer Team at the ICR, and specialises in developing new molecularly targeted therapies to improve treatment for prostate cancer patients. He has been involved in developing more than 100 potential new drugs over the past decade, several of which are now available to patients, and is currently evaluating more than 30 drugs in early clinical trials. He led the pivotal phase III trials for the prostate cancer drugs abiraterone and cabazitaxel, which both showed an overall survival benefit to patients with advanced, castration-resistant prostate cancer.

Professor de Bono was born and raised in Malta, and graduated from the University of Glasgow in 1989 with a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery. He became a member of the Royal College of Physicians in 1992, and completed his PhD and MSc at the Beatson Institute of Cancer Research in Glasgow in 1997. He trained as a medical oncologist between 1996 and 2000, spending part of the time learning about clinical trial design in Seattle, US. This training led to three years at the Institute for Drug Development in San Antonio, Texas, which Professor de Bono says was an invaluable experience that gave him an “outstanding blueprint” for running similar programmes. Professor de Bono joined the ICR and The Royal Marsden in 2003. He took over from Professor Stan Kaye as Head of the ICR’s and The Royal Marsden’s joint Drug Development Unit in 2011, and as Head of the Division of Clinical Studies in 2014. He was awarded the Malta Order of Merit in 2010.

As well as research, Professor de Bono is involved in training and supervising PhD and MD(Res) research students.

He has published more than 300 scientifically peer-reviewed manuscripts in journals including The New England Journal of Medicine, The Lancet, Lancet Oncology, Nature, Nature Cancer Reviews, Journal of Clinical Oncology, Clinical Cancer Research and Cancer Research.

Professor de Bono has received many awards during his career including a Cancer Research Campaign PhD Clinical Research Fellowship, American Society of Clinical Oncology Merit and Young Investigator Awards, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation Clinician Scientist Award and a Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow Travel Award. In July 2016, he was awarded the title of Regius Professor of Cancer Research, the first such Professorship devoted to cancer.

He holds editorial roles at peer-reviewed journals and is a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians (London) and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow. He has served as the UK ESMO representative and has served on the ESMO Board of Directors as well as on the NCRI Prostate Cancer Clinical Studies Group.

Professor de Bono was the Scientific Programme Chair of the European Society of Medical Oncology (ESMO) Annual meeting in 2014 and is the Co-Chair of the American Association of Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting in 2015'. He leads the ICR and Royal Marsden Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre and the Movember London Prostate Cancer Centre of Excellence.

Professor de Bono is married to Hazel, who is Scottish and works as a GP, and has three children. He enjoys playing football and watching Liverpool FC, jazz, blues and classical music, and cycling, hill-walking and chess.

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