Cancer crusader Tom makes global influencer list | News from St Bartholomew's

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Cancer crusader Tom makes global influencer list

Thomas Powles headshot on grey background

A Barts Health doctor whose research has helped to double the life expectancy of people with severe bladder cancer has been included in a list of the most influential scientists.

Tom Powles, director of the Barts Cancer Centre and a Professor of Genitourinary Oncology at Queen Mary University of London, features in Nature’s 10, the science journal’s annual run-down of the people who have most shaped scientific understanding.

He is named alongside individuals such as Ilya Sutskever, OpenAI’s chief scientist who helped to create ChatGPT, and Kalpana Kalahasti, leading engineer from India’s successful moon landing.

Powles was praised for his efforts to tackle metastatic bladder cancer.

A study earlier this year found that a new combination of chemotherapy and immunotherapy drugs can transform outcomes for people with the disease by extending the survival time from around 16 months to two and a half years.

It is the biggest breakthrough in bladder cancer treatment in 40 years and could herald the next wave of powerful immunotherapy drugs.

Powles said: "It’s very humbling to appear on this list.

"Our work to tackle bladder cancer has been a huge effort from a large number of scientists, doctors and patients from across the globe, over many years. 

"Representing this group is a real honour."

In May 2024, Powles was named among the most influential 100 people in health by Time magazine.

About his discovery, it said: "In true Cinderella form, the combination has now transformed the once dismal and ignored disease of bladder cancer into one that’s finally drawing attention and hope."

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  1. Ben Mayes Saturday, 16 December 2023 at 09:13 PM

    Great job, Tom. Always knew you were a star. Now, as a colorectal cancer patient, I am aware of the key roles of the oncology local strategy: it’s not just about them surgeons.
    Well done, Tom. Real proud of ya.
    Ben Mayes MA, VetMB, MRCVS (childhood friend)

  2. Sue Mayes Sunday, 17 December 2023 at 07:54 AM

    Congratulations Tom like Ben always knew you were a ⭐️,even when growing up you stood out as a special young man. Xx

  3. Christine Whiting Friday, 22 December 2023 at 01:52 PM

    My husband was treated by Tom Powles 20 years ago a caring and dedicated Doctor, I would once again like to say Thank you. Also he used to wear glasses and my husband called him Joe 90. Sorry.x

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