Events calendar

“Converging on Cancer”- Professor Céire Costelloe & Dr James Flanagan

1 Feb 2024, 15:00 PM

We invite you to join us online on Thursday, February 1st, from 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM.

In this webinar series, presented by the Cancer Research UK Convergence Science Centre at Imperial College London and The Institute of Cancer Research, London, researchers from both institutions will discuss key challenges facing cancer research and the potential of convergence science to tackle them. Join us to discover how innovative approaches and cutting-edge technologies can elucidate unresolved questions in cancer biology, revolutionise cancer research, and bring pioneering treatments to cancer patients faster.


Hosted by our Scientific Director, Professor Axel Behrens, this series aims to fulfil the Centre's mission of fostering collaboration between traditionally separate disciplines.


We invite you to join us online on Thursday, February 1st, from 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM, for a presentation by:



Professor Céire Costelloe – Division of Clinical Studies, The Institute of Cancer Research


"Real-world data in cancer research: Using digital technology and data science across the cancer healthcare pathway"

There is currently over £1 billion a year devoted to digital transformation in the NHS. Digital innovation and digitsation of healthcare offer immense opportunities: to improve risk assessment; to speed up diagnoses; and to personalise therapy decisions. Ultimately this will provide better outcomes at reduced costs.

The key to realising the potential of digital health is ensuring access to real-time integrated data. The NHS ‘move to digital’ through the incorporation of electronic patient record systems (EPR) facilitates this translation. Data from EPRs is a vital resource for identifying the need for digital innovation; developing and validating models; and evaluating interventions. The talk will outline the research being led by the Health informatics group at ICR at the local, which aims to make the best use of routinely collected health data to improve detection and prognosis of cancer, using precision methods to inform treatment options tailored to individual patients. Projects span the cancer healthcare pathway and involve: linkage of structured/unstructured data to deliver a unified and integrated view of patient pathway; Causal inference in AI approaches, and evaluation of the immediate and long-term impact of cancer interventions using real world data


Professor Céire Costelloe is a Medical Statistician and  Group Lead for Health Informatics at ICR. She also leads Health Informatics research within the  NIHR ICR/RMH BRC. She is an honorary Professor of Digital Health at Imperial College London where she established the Global Digital health unit in the School of Public Health, and is a Chartered Statistician who has spent time working the UKCRC Bristol Randomised Trials Collaboration, as well as holding a Lectureship in Medical Statistics within the UKCRC Pragmatic Clinical Trials unit at Queen Mary university. She has a keen interest in pragmatic clinical trial design and natural experiments, and how novel statistical methodology can improve the robustness of evaluations using real-world data.




Dr James Flanagan – Department of Surgery & Cancer, Imperial College London


"The Cancer Loyalty Card Study (CLOCS): Using shopping data for earlier cancer diagnosis"

Over the last five years we have pioneered a novel area of research using transactional data from high street retailers for health outcomes in the Cancer Loyalty Card Study (CLOCS). One of the main strengths of this work is the close-knit multi-disciplinary collaboration between data science, epidemiology, clinical and behavioural science. This talk will cover two of the important findings from CLOCS thus far. In one study we showed that ovarian cancer patients were self-managing their cancer symptoms with indigestion and pain medication 8-9 months before their diagnosis. Compared with when they first visited the GP with their symptoms (3.5months before diagnosis), this shows that transactional data (via retailer loyalty cards) could become a very powerful new tool for “digital health” to prompt individuals to see their GP sooner than they might otherwise have done. In the second study using a large population sampled survey we showed that over 52% of people were willing to share transactional data from loyalty cards for health research. We also identified significant predictors of acceptability of data donation such as increasing age, trust and perceived importance of privacy. This was a very important finding that will guide the future research of our study and others in the field. 


Dr James Flanagan completed his PhD in 2002 at the Queensland Institute of Medical Research in Brisbane, Australia, and has pursued postdoctoral work in Cancer Genetics, Epigenetics and Cancer Epigenetics. He was awarded a Breast Cancer Campaign Scientific Fellowship (Imperial, 2009-2014) and Senior Lecturer (2014-2019) and is now Reader in Epigenetics (2019-present) in the Division of Cancer, Dept. of Surgery and Cancer, Faculty of Medicine at Imperial College London. He was awarded the British Association of Cancer Research Translational Researcher Award in 2011 and is the principal investigator (PI) for the OCA funded programme "Risk and Prevention" based in the Ovarian Cancer Action Research Centre and PI of the CRUK funded project "Cancer Loyalty Card Study (CLOCS)". In 2021 he was appointed as the Director of the MRes Cancer Biology.



Please note: This webinar is exclusively available to colleagues from the Institute of Cancer Research, the Royal Marsden, Imperial and Imperial College Healthcare. Do not forward to colleagues outside of these organisations.