In response to the global coronavirus outbreak, we have implemented a strict visitor policy to safeguard the health and wellbeing of the whole school community. Please read our visitor policy before you visit the school.

Read Visitor Policy

Stem Cells and Human Cancer: Turning Biology into Treatments

Stem Cells and Human Cancer: Turning Biology into Treatments

Norman J MaitlandProfessor Norman J Maitland
YCR Professor of Molecular Biology and Director, YCR Cancer Research Unit, Dept of Biology University of York

Friday 26 September 2014
7.00pm Memorial Hall

In his lecture, Professor Maitland will describe his ground-breaking research on cancer stem cells. There is fewer than one cancer stem cell for every thousand cells in a tumour, but it is the stem cell component which is probably responsible for not only the spread of cancers around the body, but also for tumour relapse after treatment. The YCR Cancer Research Unit at the University of York, which Professor Maitland directs, has pioneered the study of these cells, and are developing drugs to eliminate the stem cell components in human prostate cancer, now the most commonly diagnosed tumour in men.

The lecture is suitable for a public audience with children aged from 13/14+.

Stem Cells Lecture Event PosterAdmission is free, but tickets are required. Light refreshments provided. To reserve tickets please email: or phone 01904 527300.

This lecture will be held as part of Yornight. See their website.

Stem Cells and Human Cancer Lecture - Extended Synopsis

Speaker biography

Norman J Maitland, PhD is a graduate in Biochemistry (University of Glasgow), with a PhD in Cancer Studies (University of Birmingham). He trained as a Robertson Research Fellow in Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and CRC Research Fellow in Genetics (University of Edinburgh).  During this time his research was mainly directed towards the role of DNA tumour viruses in human cancer. In 1977 he reported the first correction of a gene defect in mammalian cells by direct gene transfer. After appointment as the first UK Lecturer in Molecular Pathology at the University of Bristol (1983-91), to develop nucleic acid technologies in the diagnosis and treatment of human disease, he determined the importance of HPV infection in human oral carcinomas, and was appointed the first Director of the CLIC Children’s Cancer Research Laboratory, which described the role of genomic imprinting in tumour suppression in Wilms Tumor and the importance of gene fusions in tracking clinical disease in pediatric leukemias.  In 1991 he moved to York, to become Yorkshire Cancer Research Professor of Molecular Biology and Director of the YCR Cancer Research Unit. The laboratory had two main aims: firstly to bring a structural biology approach to the understanding of protein function in oncogenic viruses, culminating in a series of papers which revealed the key role of HPV16 E2 protein-induced chromatin looping in the control of viral oncogene expression. The second aim, which is now the main focus of the laboratory, was to establish a basic biology research group to understand prostate cancer and hence to develop effective therapeutics. Current research on the basic biology of the prostate, including studies of gene expression control and therapy for human prostate cancer, is based on a stem cell paradigm, which has the CRU has now studied for more than 10 years, establishing many of the systems and hypotheses worked on around the world in this field. He is the author of more than 170 refereed papers, numerous academic articles and is a past chair of both the British Prostate Group and the European Society for Urological Research, and was awarded the Chopin prize in 2009 for research excellence in the field of prostate stem cell biology.  He has coordinated and participated in a large number of EU funded research networks, researching both Gene Therapy approaches to cancer treatment, and prostate cancer biology.

In 2002, he founded a biotech company (Pro-Cure Therapeutics), to exploit the translational output of the Cancer Research Unit. He is the author of more than 40 patent applications including key granted patents for the use of prostate cancer stem cells as therapeutic targets.