Dr Jacqui Shaw

ProfessorJacqui Shaw of Translational Cancer Genetics

Contact Details

  • Tel: 0116 252 3148
  • Fax: 0116 252 3274
  • Office: Room 303, Level 3, Robert Kilpatrick Clinical Sciences Building, Leicester Royal Infirmary, Leicester LE2 7LX


  • BSc (Hons) II(i) Biological Sciences (Leicester)
  • PhD Molecular Genetics (Imperial College London)

Research Interests

Use of plasma nucleic acids for detection and monitoring of cancer

My main research has focussed on analysis of circulating free DNA (cfDNA) isolated from blood plasma for detection and monitoring of breast cancer. In collaboration with Prof RC Coombes at Imperial College I lead an integrated programme of clinical and translational research between the two universities funded by  a Cancer Research UK Clinical and Translational Research Committee programme grant: “Towards personalised cancer care: circulating nucleic acids for early detection and monitoring of breast cancer”.  We were the first to describe molecular portraits of cfDNA using Affymetrix® SNP 6.0 Arrays and our work was published in the top-ranked journal Genome Research. The paper was scored 6 and recommended by Faculty 1000 (F1000) as “an example of bench to bedside science that might be useful in the risk assessment and the monitoring of cancer”.  We were able to distinguish between patients with breast cancer and healthy female controls by comparison of cfDNA profiles and we demonstrated for the first time that tumour specific changes are detectable in cfDNA a decade after treatment and during clinical remission, suggesting the patient has persistent but dormant disease. Importantly this indicates that the dormant phase of breast cancer has a genomic signature, which could be used to develop blood monitoring tests. My research was an exemplar case study for the successful Leicester Cancer Research UK Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC) renewal (2012) and was also highlighted by Cancer Research UK in their ECMC related impact publicity.  To support my research we have implemented Good Clinical Laboratory Practice within my research group; compliance with this QA system is essential for a laboratory engaged in translational research studies relating to clinical trials. 
Given the potential of cfDNA analysis and my acknowledged expertise in this area, I have recently extended molecular screening of cfDNA to the early detection of lung cancer (with Prof D Fennell, Prof C Pritchard, Dr L Martins and Dr JH Pringle) and pancreatic cancer (with Prof M Manson, Dr C Neal and Dr LM Martins) and with external collaborators. In support of this I have gained the first externally funded project grant at Leicester for lung cancer translational research from the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation: “Early detection of NSCLC by deep sequencing of circulating free DNA” and The Nikki Rivers Award from Hope Against Cancer for Pancreatic Cancer Research.

Clinical Trials

  • Translational Research Lead, Member of the Trial Steering Committee, and Member of the Trial Management Group for Neocent (ISRCTN: 77234840), a multi-centre randomised, parallel group, comparative phase III neo-adjuvant study of chemotherapy versus endocrine therapy in postmenopausal patients with strongly ER positive primary breast cancer.
  • With Prof J Bliss (PI, The Institute of Cancer Research), Prof D Cameron (Edinburgh), Prof RC Coombes (Imperial). UNIRAD, an adjuvant study in 2000+ higher risk ER+ breast cancer patients.  Currently under review by CRUK – CTAAC.
  • With Prof J Stebbing (PI, Imperial) and Prof RC Coombes (Imperial) The Breast Screening and Monitoring Study. Approved, to commence March 2013.
  • With Prof RC Coombes (PI, Imperial) and Prof J Stebbing (Imperial) The Breast Lead Interval Study, under ethics review.

Current Grants

To view Dr Shaw's current grant awards, please use the link: Grants


To view Dr Shaw's publications, please use the links below:

2008     2009     2010     2011     2012     2013

Supervision of Research Students

  • Mr Ali Al Harth, funded by the Government of Saudi Arabia, writing up.
  • Ms Nuha Al Mul, funded by the Government of Saudi Arabia.  June 2012 – June 2015.
  • Mr Ricky Trigg. MRC studentship, co-supervised by Prof C Pritchard, October 2012 – October 2015.
  • Ms Basma Al Reghbi, funded by the Libyan Government. October 2012 – October 2015.

Academic Distinctions and National Profile

  • Executive Committee Member of the British Association of Cancer Research (BACR), elected November 2011. 
  • Member of the editorial board for Kinome.
  • External Examiner Imperial College
  • Active member of the British Breast, the British Association for Cancer Research and the Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland.

In The News

Dr Shaw has appeared in many newpaper/media articles.  To read the stories, please click on: News Articles.

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Contact Details

Department of Cancer Studies
Clinical Sciences Building
University of Leicester
Leicester Royal Infirmary
Leicester LE2 7LX

T: +44 (0) 116 252 3170
E: cancerstudies@le.ac.uk

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