Professor Johann Sebastian de Bono

Honorary Consultant in Medical Oncology and Professor in Experimental Medicine MB ChB FRCP MSc PhD FMedSci

Specialism: Drug development, Urology

Available at: Sutton

Special interests:

  • advanced prostate cancer
  • new anti-cancer drugs


Professor de Bono has both a private and an NHS practice at The Royal Marsden.

Professor Johann de Bono is a Professor in Experimental Cancer Medicine at The Institute of Cancer Research and Royal Marsden. He is the Director of The Drug Development Unit, overseeing the conduct of Phase I trials, with a particular interest in innovative trial designs, circulating biomarkers and prostate cancer. He leads the Prostate Cancer Targeted Therapy Clinical Trials Team and the Cancer Biomarkers laboratory team. He graduated from the University of Glasgow medical school in 1989 and became a Member of the Royal College of Physicians (MRCP) in 1992.

He was awarded a four-year Cancer Research Campaign Clinical Fellowship, allowing him to pursue a PhD between 1993 and 1997. He trained in medical oncology, and was awarded an MSc (Cancer Sciences) from Glasgow University. He then undertook a Royal College travelling scholarship, pursuing further research into clinical trial design at the SWOG statistical headquarters at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Centre in Seattle. Between 2000 and 2003 he pursued further research developing novel anti-cancer drugs at the Institute for Drug Development, University of Texas Health Science Centre at San Antonio.

In 2003, he moved to The Institute of Cancer Research and Royal Marsden, being elected FRCP. He has been awarded the ESMO Award with his ICR/RMH team receiving the AACR Team Science Award, a Royal Society of Chemistry award for developing abiraterone and a Cancer Research UK award for their work on HSP90 inhibitors.

The ICR/RM ECMC team has been involved in the development of many novel agents, many of which are now approved drugs, including abiraterone, olaparib and afatinib. They have led on developing and utilizing the Pharmacological Audit Trail, driving the concept of patient selection in early clinical trials. His team have also led on the developing blood based biomarkers including the study of circulating tumour cells, plasma DNA and RNA, and whole blood expression profiling. More recently, his team have led on developing novel adaptive trial designs, including the TO-PARP trial which incorporates exome and transcriptome next generation sequencing to clinically qualify a predictive biomarker panel.

Professor de Bono has served as chief investigator of several drugs that have changed the standard of care for prostate cancer patients including abiraterone, cabazitaxel and enzalutamide and has published more than 300 manuscripts including multiple key publications in the New England Journal of Medicine and The Lancet.