Edinburgh Cancer Research

Stefan Symeonides

Drug Development and Early Phase Cancer Trials 

Stefan Symeonides
Dr Stefan Symeonides - Senior Clinical Lecturer in Medical Oncology

Research in a Nutshell 

Stefan Symeonides is a clinical academic in experimental cancer medicine at the CRUK Edinburgh Centre and at the linked Edinburgh Cancer Centre (NHS Lothian), where he leads clinical trials of new cancer treatments.

His research focus is the discovery and development of new cancer therapies, something he has been involved with in the lab, in the clinic, and in industry.  At the university, he leads that link between lab and clinic for cancer research in Edinburgh.  At the hospital, he runs the Phase I Trials Unit for new cancer treatments, as well as having a specialty focus on renal cancers within the Uro-oncology team.  He also continues in drug development, working with CRUK’s Centre for Drug Development and in an advisory role for a number of UK Biotechs.

Although he works across cytotoxic, small molecule, metabolic and even psychological therapies, his main focus is immunotherapies and he is the clinical lead for the Edinburgh Cancer Immunology Research Network.  He is particularly interested in combining cancer immunotherapies to improve their activity.  His current FAK-PD1 trial (NCT02758587) of combination PD-1 (pembrolizumab) and FAK (defactinib) inhibition is an example of how scientific discoveries at the ECRC (Serrells et al, Cell 2015) are being brought to patients, with an essential ongoing link back to the lab.


Stefan Symeonides Principal Investigator, Senior Clinical Lecturer in Medical Oncology and ECMC Deputy Lead




  • Dr Alan Serrels, University of Edinburgh
  • Professor Stephen Anderton, University of Edinburgh
  • Professor Jeff Evans, University of Glasgow
  • Professor Christian Ottensmeier, University of Southampton
  • Professor Dean Fennell, University of Leicester
  • Dr Vicky Coyle, Queen’s University Belfast
  • Professor Mike Waring, Newcastle University

Partners and Funders

  • Chief Scientist Office, NHS Scotland
  • Cancer Research UK
  • MSD
  • Verastem

Scientific Themes

Early Phase Clinical Trials, Phase I Trials, Medical Oncology, Novel Therapeutics, Renal Cell Carcinoma, Cancer Immunology, Targeted Therapies, Cancer Metabolism, Combination Therapies, Drug Discovery and Development

Technology Expertise

Drug Discovery and Development, Clinical Trials, Cancer Immunology, Industry Collaboration