Dr Hayley Francies | Senior Staff Scientist

Francies, Hayley

Within the Translational Cancer Genomics group, Hayley's work is focused upon the derivation and use of 3D cancer organoid models for genomic analyses and drug screens to identify novel cancer therapies and genetic biomarkers of drug response.

Much of the work within the Translational Cancer Genomics group has been focused upon the use of our cancer cell line collection to conduct high-throughput drug screens to identify novel therapies and biomarkers of drug response. However, for many cancer types, the cell line collection fails to encompass the genetic breadth of the disease and thus we are investigating novel technologies to expand our cell line collection.

Of particular interest are 3D cancer organoid models. We have conducted a pilot study using this novel cell model to investigate their utility to study colon cancer. A panel of 22 colon cancer organoids were derived from the tumours of 20 patients and we found them to faithfully capture the genomics of the primary tumour as well as much of the genetic breadth of colon cancer. By conducting drug screens with the organoid panel we were able to confirm known clinical gene-drug associations such as the status of KRAS and response to EGFR-targeted agents. Following the success of the pilot study we are now investigating the utility of cancer organoids to research other cancer types including pancreatic and oesophageal cancer.


  • Prospective derivation of a living organoid biobank of colorectal cancer patients.

    van de Wetering M, Francies HE, Francis JM, Bounova G, Iorio F et al.

    Cell 2015;161;4;933-45

  • Fulvestrant-induced expression of ErbB3 and ErbB4 receptors sensitizes oestrogen receptor-positive breast cancer cells to heregulin β1.

    Hutcheson IR, Goddard L, Barrow D, McClelland RA, Francies HE et al.

    Breast cancer research : BCR 2011;13;2;R29

  • What role could organoids play in the personalization of cancer treatment?

    Francies HE and Garnett MJ

    Pharmacogenomics 2015;16;14;1523-6

  • Drug Sensitivity Assays of Human Cancer Organoid Cultures.

    Francies HE, Barthorpe A, McLaren-Douglas A, Barendt WJ and Garnett MJ

    Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.) 2019;1576;339-351

  • Human primary liver cancer-derived organoid cultures for disease modeling and drug screening.

    Broutier L, Mastrogiovanni G, Verstegen MM, Francies HE, Gavarró LM et al.

    Nature medicine 2017;23;12;1424-1435

  • Organoid cultures recapitulate esophageal adenocarcinoma heterogeneity providing a model for clonality studies and precision therapeutics.

    Li X, Francies HE, Secrier M, Perner J, Miremadi A et al.

    Nature communications 2018;9;1;2983

  • Cell Model Passports-a hub for clinical, genetic and functional datasets of preclinical cancer models.

    van der Meer D, Barthorpe S, Yang W, Lightfoot H, Hall C et al.

    Nucleic acids research 2019;47;D1;D923-D929

Career/Research Highlights

Francies, Hayley
Hayley's Timeline

Senior Staff Scientist at Wellcome Sanger Institute


Postdoctoral Fellow at the Wellcome Sanger Institute

Graduated from Cardiff University following the completion of PhD: 'Characterising Response and Resistance Mechanisms to Faslodex in Breast Cancer'


Graduated from University of Portsmouth, BSc Pharmacology