Professor Adel Samson

Professor Adel Samson


I lead a portfolio of translational oncolytic virus clinical trials. I also lead the Translational Cancer Immunotherapy Group. My research group focuses on harnessing the immune system to treat solid malignancies, optimising the efficacy and delivery of immunotherapies to tumours, and understanding the immunological effects of cancer therapies. My research spans multiple key steps in clinical immunotherapy development, including pre-clinical laboratory conceptualisation and optimisation, early phase clinical trials, and translational studies using clinical trial samples.

I studied medicine and intercalated in Genetics at the University of Leeds. Upon graduation in 2006, I undertook an Academic Oncology Foundation Programme and Core Medical Training in Yorkshire, followed by an Academic Clinical Fellowship to train in Medical Oncology. I completed a CRUK-funded laboratory PhD in 2015 entitled ‘Causative and Therapeutic Viruses in Liver Cancer’, after which I undertook a 3-year period of post-doctoral research as an NIHR Academic Clinical Lecturer. In 2018 I took up my first PI post as a University Academic Fellow and an Honorary Consultant Medical Oncologist, specialising in hepatocellular carcinoma and early phase clinical trials.

In 2019 I was awarded a translational laboratory CRUK Clinician Scientist Fellowship entitled ‘Rationally-Designed Oncolytic Virus-Based Immunotherapies for Hepatocellular Carcinoma’. Since taking up my PI position in 2018, I have been awarded several million pounds in grants funding from research councils, charities and industrial partners.


  • Honorary Medical Oncologist

Research interests

Selection of Current Pre-clinical/Translational Laboratory Projects

  1. Rationally designed oncolytic virus-based immunotherapies for hepatocellular carcinoma.
  2. Individualised heteroclitic peptide therapies for hepatocellular carcinoma.
  3. Personalised anti-viral immunotherapies for hepatitis B and C virus-associated hepatocellular carcinoma
  4. A comparison of the immunophenotypic and functional immunological differences between one versus multiple infusions of oncolytic reovirus in patients.
  5. Rationally designed immunotherapy-radiotherapy combinations for hepatocellular carcinoma and anal cancer.
  6. Combination UV-reovirus and sorafenib for hepatocellular carcinoma (joint with Dr. Stephen Griffin).
  7. Cellular targets for therapy in Human papillomavirus (HPV)-associated cancers (lead Dr. Andrew Macdonald).

Translational Clinical Trials

  1. Chief Investigator: TG6002.03 Phase 1-2 study. This is an international clinical trial to test the safety and efficacy of oncolytic virus TG6002 infusion via the hepatic artery (recruiting).
  2. Chief Investigator: Oncolytic Virus Brain Phase 1 trial (in set up).
  3. Principal Investigator: Replimune Phase 1-2 study (recruiting).
  4. Principal Investigator: MedImmune Phase 1-2 study (recruiting).
  5. Principal Investigator: MAGE Phase 1-2 study (in set up).
  6. Principal Investigator: T3P Phase 1-2 study (in set up).
  7. Co-Investigator and lead laboratory investigator (CI: Fiona Collinson): PreOp JX-594 Phase 1 trial (closed).
  8. Co-investigator and lead laboratory investigator (CI: Susan Short): Reo13Brain and ReoGlio Phase 1 trials (recruitment completed).

University Staff Research Group Members

  1. Dr. Emma West (Post-Doctoral Research Fellow)
  2. Miss. Karen Scott (Research Technician)
  3. Miss. Fay Ismail (Research Technician)


  • AFHEA 2020
  • PhD 2015
  • MRCP (Medical Oncology) 2009
  • MBChB (honours) 2006
  • BSc Genetics (1st, honours) 2004

Professional memberships

  • Royal College of Physicians
  • European Association for the Study of the Liver
  • American Society of Clinical Oncology

Student education

Current Postgraduate Students

  1. Zahra Alfaheeda – International PhD Academy, June 2021-present (McKimmie Primary; Samson Secondary)
  2. Samantha Garcia – Government of Mexico CONACYT PhD scholarship, 2021-present (Griffin Primary; Samson Secondary)
  3. Abigail Connor - MRC DiMeN PhD, Oct 2020-present (Samson Primary; Tooze)
  4. Charlotte Wynn – PhD, Oct 2020-present (Samson Primary; Griffin; Taylor)
  5. Emma Jennings - MRC DiMeN PhD, 2019-present (Samson Primary; McKimmie; Whitehouse)
  6. Robert Samuel – NIHR Academic Clinical Fellow in Oncology, 2019-present (Samson Primary)
  7. Justin Liu – NIHR Academic Clinical Fellow in Oncology, 2019-present (Samson Primary)
  8. James Scarth - MRC DiMeN PhD, 2018-present (MacDonald Primary; Samson Secondary)

Past Postgraduate Students

  1. Rachel Gunnel MRes; Distinction, 2018-19
  2. Emma Jennings MSc; Distinction, 2018
  3. Elizabeth Appleton NIHR Academic Clinical Fellow, 2016-2019
  4. Amy Izon Academic Foundation Year 2 Doctor, 2015-16

Undergraduate Research Students

  1. Estelle Michel ERASMUS; Lyon Catholic University, 2018
  2. Claire Courtney Summer intern, 2014


  1. Annual lectures/workshops:
    • Lecture and assessment of coursework in ‘Cancers of Unmet Need’ for MSc students as part of the Molecular Biology of Cancer MSc module. 
    • Journal club exercise on clinical trials as part of the ‘Cancer Drug Development’ MSC module. 
    • Clinician-led workshop and assessment of coursework for MSc students, Immunity and Disease module.
  2. Literature review supervisor and assessor, Immunity and Disease module:
    • Immune checkpoints in cancer
    • The clinical relevance of tumour infiltrating lymphocytes
  3. Annual lecture for FRCR part 1 course; Tumour Immunology.
  4. Annual workshop for allied health professionals and GPs in Yorkshire; Cancer Immunotherapies.
  5. Annual lecture, Out of Programme Choices for Oncology Specialist Trainees.
  6. Regular group and seminar teaching in oncology for 4th year medical students.

Research groups and institutes

  • Leeds Institute of Medical Research at St James's
  • Infection and Immunity
  • Brain Cancer Research Group
<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>
    <li><a href="//">LIMR Immunotherapy: Killing Cancer using Dead Virus</a></li>