Speaker: Prof Paul Murray, Professor of Molecular Pathology, Birmingham Cancer Research UK Centre, University of Birmingham, UK

Topic: Is cancer an inflammatory disease?


Historical studies have noted the close similarities between cancer and inflammatory diseases, often confusing the two. Subsequent population-based studies have reported a link between inflammation and a predisposition for cancer development. We now know that chronic infection, for example with the Epstein-Barr virus or with the human papilloma virus, can lead to nasopharyngeal carcinoma and cervical cancer, respectively. In other cases, opportunistic infections may result in cancer in immunedeficient hosts, for example the HHV8 virus can cause Kaposi’s sarcoma in HIV-infected individuals. The link between cancer and inflammatory processes has been strengthened in recent years by molecular and cell biology studies which show not only that the development of cancer can be induced by inflammatory processes but also that cancers  ‘hijack’ chronic inflammatory processes to promote their growth, survival and dissemination. This lecture will give an overview of what is known about the links between cancer and inflammation with a focus on how this knowledge is being used to find new therapies.

Prof Paul Murray received his PhD in oncology in 1996 from University of Wolverhampton where he was also appointed as a senior lecturer in Biomedical Sciences. Prof Murray joined University of Birmingham in 2000 and was made a professor of Molecular Pathology in the Birmingham Cancer Research UK Centre in 2007. The Institute is internationally recognised as a centre of excellence for the study of viral oncology. Prof Murray’s record to attract research fund is inspiring, being awarded more than £3 million of research grants over the years. Prof Murray has published more than 100 scientific articles in leading international journals such as Blood, Oncogene, PNAS, and also contributed to 10 books. In addition, Prof Murray is a member of several journal editorial boards and a regular reviewer for over 15 major charities/funding bodies and over 20 international peer-reviewed journals.