Professor Matt Seymour

Professor Matt Seymour


Matt Seymour is a Medical Oncologist who qualified in Medicine from Cambridge and the London Hospital, then trained in London and Stoke-on-Trent before moving to Leeds, first as a Senior Lecturer then, to specialise in gastrointestinal cancer.  From 2004 he has been Professor of Gastrointestinal Cancer Medicine.

From 2001, in addition to his clinical and research activities, Matt has been involved in national networking initiatives to increase clinical research activity across all cancers and more widely in medicine. From 2001 he led the Yorkshire Cancer Research Network, promoting cancer research across the county. In 2010 he took up the role of National Director for NCRN, the National Cancer Research Network. From 2013, he transitioned this organisation into the NIHR Clinical Research Network for Cancer, and was appointed Clinical Research Director for NCRI, the UK National Cancer Research Institute. These organisations work together to develop, coordinate and deliver clinical and translational research across all cancer types and have been central to a substantial increase in clinical cancer research activity throughout the UK. He is a joint founder of the International Rare Cancers Initiative. Since April 2015, his remit has broadened as lead for the NIHR Clinical Research Network Specialty Cluster for Cancer, Surgery, Oral & Dental Health, and Medical Informatics & Data Linkage.

He has served as board member and co-chair for numerous research grant award panels including the NIHR's Efficacy & Mechanisms Evaluation programme, Cancer Research UK's Clinical Trials and Translational Research panels, and the French National Cancer Institute's Clinical and Translational research panels.


  • National Clinical Lead of the NIHR Clinical Research Network, Cancer, Surgery and Oral/Dental Health
  • Clinical Research Director of the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI)
  • Oncology Theme Lead, NIHR Leeds In Vitro Diagnostics Cooperative (Leeds MIC)

Research interests

Matt's research in gastrointestinal is focused on optimising the use of chemotherapy and other drug therapies for patients with colorectal and oesophagogastric cancer. He has designed and led a large number of clinical trials including small-scale pilots to optimise drug dosing, medium-scale trials to establish efficacy and large national (phase III) trials to change clinical practice. He was one of the first to establish the practice of routinely asking all patients participating in trials to donate a tumour and blood samples so that molecular characteristics of the tumour could be established which correlate with the drug efficacy or toxicity, so establishing "predictive biomarkers" to guide the optimum selection of treatment for future patients. In order to do this, he has worked in close partnership with pathologists and other laboratory scientists in Leeds and elsewhere.

Gastrointestinal cancers can occur at any age but are particularly common in the elderly, and a second theme of Matt's research has been to establish better treatment options for patients whose age or frailty makes "standard" treatment schedules too toxic or risky. This has involved establishing better ways of assessing patients' fitness and better ways of measuring and balancing the benefit or unwanted effects of treatment.  

Research groups and institutes

  • Leeds Institute of Medical Research at St James's
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