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How body clocks could help beat cancer

The University is holding a panel discussion to give the public the opportunity to find out about its work in this area of chronotherapy. This is the treatment of an illness or disorder by administering a drug at a time of day when it is less toxic and more effective.


Leading cancer experts will discuss how our body clocks can be used to predict cancer survival, decrease side-effects and increase the effectiveness of cancer treatments.

Doctors are becoming increasingly interested in chronotherapeutic approaches and cancer as well as other chronic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis are promising clinical applications for chronotherapy.

Circadian rhythm 

Panelist Professor David Rand of Warwick’s Systems Biology Institute said: “The body’s circadian rhythm or biological clock runs over a period of around 24 hours and affects not just sleep patterns but immune function and metabolism.

“It is thought that molecular clocks in cancer cells tends to be out of sync with the clocks in healthy cells. We’ll be explaining to people how this affects us and how we can harness this knowledge to treat diseases such as cancer.”

One of the University’s’ oncology researchers Dr Pasquale Innominato is exploring this idea in relation to what time of the day anti-cancer drugs are given to patients. He is attempting to establish if chronotherapy is less toxic and therefore less harmful to patients but more effective depending on the time-of-day they are administered. It is also thought that men and women are affected differently, with women suffering more from the toxicity of chemotherapy than men.

Warwick Medical School

The panel will consist of Professor David Spiegel from Stanford University, USA and Professor David Rand and Dr Pasquale Innominato from the University of Warwick. It will be chaired by medical journalist Dara Mohammadi.

The event is aimed at everyone from the general public to cancer experts and there will be a chance to ask the researchers questions.

The event is taking place at the Lecture Hall, Medical Training Centre, Warwick Medical School, Gibbet Hill, Monday 4 July 6-7.30pm.

To register for this free event visit


For media enquiries please contact Nicola Jones, Communications Manager, University of Warwick 07920531221 or