Professor Clare Isacke
Academic Title: Professor of Molecular Cell Biology
Team: Molecular Cell Biology Team
Tel: 020 7153 5333
Location: Breakthrough Breast Cancer Research Centre, London
Cancer as a disease, can be regarded as having three broad stages:
(a) The uncontrolled growth of cells
(b) Invasion of the cancerous cells into adjacent tissue
(c) Metastasis - where cancer cells escape from the primary site and re-establish growth at distant, secondary locations
In breast cancer, as in other cancers of epithelial origin, it is well recognised that these proliferative, invasive and metastatic events do not result solely from cancer cells acquiring additional properties and behaving abnormally within 'normal' surroundings. Rather, all three stages rely on the ability of the tumour cells to recruit, activate and interact with neighbouring non-tumour (stromal) cells, and to respond to the signals that these stromal cells produce.
Consequently, in our laboratory, a focus is placed on tumour cells in the context of their cellular and non-cellular environments, in order to understand the molecular basis of breast cancer progression. Our aim is to identify pathways/processes that can be targeted for the prevention or suppression of secondary breast cancer, or which are responsible for treatment-resistant tumour progression.
Professor Clare Isacke studied for her BA in Biochemistry and DPhil in Developmental Biology with John Heath at the University of Oxford. She then moved to Tony Hunter's laboratory at the Salk Institute in San Diego to work on growth factor receptor signalling as a postdoctoral fellow. On returning to England, she started her own research laboratory first in the Department of Biochemistry and then in the Department of Biology at Imperial College London. She was appointed Professor of Molecular Cell Biology in 2000.
In 2001, Professor Isacke moved to the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) in London to take up an appointment as Professor of Molecular Cell Biology in the Breakthrough Breast Cancer Research Centre. In 2004, Professor Isacke was appointed Deputy Director of the Centre and in 2011, she was appointed Interim Director of both the Breakthrough Breast Cancer Research Centre and the Division of Breast Cancer Research.
Professor Isacke is the president of the British Society of Cell Biology, the Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board for the Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell:Matrix Research in Manchester, an Medical Research Council Molecular and Cellular Medicine board member, a European Association of Cancer Research executive committee member and a committee member for Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Within the ICR, she is a member of the Executive Strategy Board, is chairing the REF2014 submission panel, and was appointed Academic Dean in 2013.