Professor David Cairns

Professor David Cairns


I am a Professor of Clinical Trial Research and Director of Late Phase Trials in the Cancer Division at CTRU. I am Deputy Director of the Leeds Cancer Research UK Clinical Trials Unit focussing on large, confirmatory trials in haematological oncology and medical oncology. I joined the CTRU as a Principal Statistician working across the Cancer Division and Comprehensive Health Research Division in July 2013.

I was previously Senior Research Fellow in Biostatistics at the Leeds Institute of Cancer and Pathology where I worked in high-dimensional data analysis related to a number of translational projects in genetics, proteomics, and biomarker discovery and validation. I was the recipient of an MRC Career Development Award in Biostatistics to undertake research in ‘Novel statistical methods for the design and analysis of proteomic experiments for biomarker discovery’.


  • Director of Late Phase Studies in Cancer Division, CTRU
  • Deputy Director, Leeds Cancer Research UK Clinical Trials Unit

Research interests

I am interested in the design, conduct and analysis of cancer clinical trials. I work primarily in haematological oncology (multiple myeloma and chronic lymphocytic leukaemia) and some solid tumours (colon, gastro-oesophagael and urological). I am interested in efficient clinical trials that evaluate treatment pathways that are defined by tests such as biomarkers. I am interested in the role of adjunct translational research that brings added value to studies, new challenges in analysis, and helps to design future clinical trials.


  • PhD Statistics (University of Sheffield)
  • MSc Statistics (University of Sheffield)
  • BSc Mathematics (University of Leeds)

Professional memberships

  • Fellow of the Royal Statistical Society
  • NCRI Multiple Myeloma Subgroup (Member)
  • NIHR Clinical Trial Fellowship Panel (Member)
  • NIHR Development and Skills Enhancement Fellowship Panel (Member)
  • NIHR Doctoral Research Fellowship Panel (Member)
  • Cancer Research UK Expert Review Panel (Member)

Research groups and institutes

  • Leeds Institute of Clinical Trials Research
  • Populations
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