Paul Workman (scientist)

Paul Workman, FRS, FRSC, FMedSci (born 30 March 1952) is a British scientist noted for his work on the discovery and development of pharmaceutical agents in the field of oncology.[1] He is President and CEO of The Institute of Cancer Research In London.

Paul Workman
Paul Workman at the Royal Society admissions day in London, July 2016
Born (1952-03-30) 30 March 1952 (age 69)
Alma mater
Known forCancer drugs
Scientific career
ThesisStudies on some enzyme-activated anti-tumour agents (1976)

Education and early life

Paul Workman

Workman was born on 30 March 1952 in Workington, Cumbria, England.[2] He was educated at Workington County Grammar School, Cumbria, and completed his BSc degree in Biochemistry at the University of Leicester and his PhD degree in Cancer Pharmacology at the University of Leeds. He later received an Honorary DSc degree from the University of Leicester in 2009.

Career and research

The early part of his career (1976–90) was spent establishing and leading the Pharmacology and New Drug Development Laboratory at the Medical Research Council's Clinical Oncology Unit at the University of Cambridge, where he developed new treatments to exploit hypoxic cells in solid tumours and elucidated the enzymes involved in the activation of hypoxia-targeted drugs.[3]

In 1990 Workman spent a sabbatical period in the Department of Therapeutic Radiology, Stanford University and SRI International, California, USA where he continued his work on tumour hypoxia funded by a Fellowship from what was then the International Union Against Cancer.

In 1991 Workman was appointed as a Cancer Research Campaign (CRC) Life Fellow, Professor of Experimental Cancer Therapy, University of Glasgow and Director of Laboratory Research in the CRC Department of Medical Oncology, CRC Beatson Laboratories, Glasgow.[4] Here he extended his research on tumour hypoxia and molecular targeted therapies.[5][6][7][page needed] Workman also continued his service for the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) as Chairman of the EORTC Pharmacology and Molecular Mechanisms Group. Member of EORTC Board and Council as Chairman of the EORTC New Drug Development Coordinating Committee.[8][9]

Workman joined the ICR in 1997 to develop its Cancer Research UK Cancer Therapeutics Unit.[3] Overall, since 2005, the Cancer Therapeutic Unit has discovered 17 drug candidates, seven of which have progressed to the patient trial stage. Workman has attributed this record to "taking early academic risks, combining academic and pharmaceutical expertise, and implementing strong leadership and project management. Other contributing factors include running multiple projects on a competitive scale, establishing long-term financial support and – most important – selecting productive and timely industrial collaborations."[10]

Workman was appointed Deputy CEO of the ICR in March 2011.[3] He was later elected as President and CEO in November 2014.[11]

Workman is currently working on drugs that block molecules essential for the growth and survival of cancer cells, in particular, molecular chaperones such as Hsp90.[12][13][14] The leading Hsp90 inhibitor was discovered by Workman's team at ICR in collaboration with Vernalis.[15]

Awards and honours


  1. Workman, Paul (1994). "Introduction". New Approaches in Cancer Pharmacology: Drug Design and Development. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg: 1–4. doi:10.1007/978-3-642-79088-1_1. ISBN 978-3-642-79090-4.
  2. "WORKMAN, Prof. Paul". Who's Who 2016. Oxford University Press. November 2015. Retrieved 14 October 2016.
  3. "Professor Paul Workman". Retrieved 4 April 2012.
  4. "Paul Workman moves to Glasgow" (PDF). Annals of Oncology News. Annals of Oncology. 2 (5): 314–319. 1991. Retrieved 8 July 2014.[dead link]
  5. Chau, Noan-Minh; Rogers, Paul; Aherne, Wynne; Carroll, Veronica; Collins, Ian; McDonald, Edward; Workman, Paul; Ashcroft, Margaret (1 June 2005). "Identification of Novel Small Molecule Inhibitors of Hypoxia-Inducible Factor-1 That Differentially Block Hypoxia-Inducible Factor-1 Activity and Hypoxia-Inducible Factor-1α Induction in Response to Hypoxic Stress and Growth Factors". Cancer Research. 65 (11): 4918–4928. doi:10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-04-4453. ISSN 0008-5472. PMID 15930314.
  6. Workman, Paul (2004). "Pharmacological Intervention With Multistep Oncogenesis". Cancer Chemoprevention. Humana Press, Totowa, NJ. pp. 325–337. doi:10.1007/978-1-59259-767-3_22. ISBN 9781617373428.
  7. Workman, Paul. "Emerging Molecular Therapies: Small-Molecule Drugs". Principles of Molecular Oncology. pp. 421–438. OCLC 890636199.
  8. "Cancer Research announcements" (PDF). Cancer Research. 48: 3297–3298. 1988. Retrieved 8 July 2014.
  9. "History of NCI-EORTC collaboration" (PDF). Annals of Oncology. Kluwer Academic Publishers. 5 (suppl 5): 7–16. 1994. Retrieved 8 July 2014.[dead link]
  10. Workman, Paul (11 June 2014). "Academia and industry: Successes for UK cancer partnership". Nature. 510 (7504): 218. doi:10.1038/510218d. PMID 24919912.
  11. Workman, Paul (24 November 2014). "Professor Paul Workman has been appointed as Chief Executive and President of The Institute of Cancer Research, London, on a permanent basis".
  12. Powers, Marissa V.; Workman, Paul (2015). "Molecular Chaperones". Encyclopedia of Cancer. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg. pp. 2894–2898. doi:10.1007/978-3-662-46875-3_3810. ISBN 978-3-662-46874-6.
  13. Workman, Paul (30 September 2003). "Preface [Hot topic:Hsp90 Molecular Chaperone Inhibitors: Opportunities and Challenges (Guest Editor: Paul Workman)]". Current Cancer Drug Targets. 3 (5): i. doi:10.2174/1568009033481840.
  14. SABCS 2010: Molecular chaperones: cancer dependence and druggability – Prof Paul Workman – The Institute of Cancer Research, Sutton, UK. Retrieved 4 April 2012.
  15. Eccles, SA; Massey, A; Raynaud, FI (15 April 2008). "NVP-AUY922: a novel heat shock protein 90 inhibitor active against xenograft tumor growth, angiogenesis, and metastasis". Cancer Research. 68 (8): 2850–60. doi:10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-07-5256. PMID 18413753.
  16. "Cancer Drug Researcher Receives Royal Society of Chemistry Award – ICR Global Foundation". 4 June 2010. Retrieved 4 April 2012.
  17. "George and Christine Sosnovsky Award in Cancer Therapy Previous Winners". The Royal Society of Chemistry. Retrieved 6 October 2018.
  18. "Oncology: Pierre Fabre sponsors the Bourgine Prize". Pierre Fabre. 2 June 2014. Retrieved 24 June 2014.