Prof Peter Croucher, BSc, PhD
Professor, Head of the Bone Biology Division,
Garvan Institute of Medical Research
Prof Croucher graduated with a BSc in Zoology from University College Cardiff in 1987 and completed a PhD at the University of Wales, College of Medicine, Cardiff, in 1990. Prof Croucher’s postdoctoral training was in the Department of Medicine at the University of Cambridge and in the Department of Human Metabolism and Clinical Biochemistry, University of Sheffield.
In 1997, Prof Croucher was awarded a prestigious five-year Bennett Senior Fellowship by the Leukaemia Research Fund. He relocated to the University of Oxford, Institute of Musculoskeletal Sciences as a Senior Research Fellow in 2001 and then returned to the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University of Sheffield in 2003 as Professor of Bone Biology. In 2009 he was appointed Head of the Department of Human Metabolism and Director of the Mellanby Centre for Bone Research. In 2011, Prof Croucher moved to the Garvan Institute of Medical Research where he is now Head of the Bone Biology Division.
Prof Croucher’s principal research interest is in understanding how tumours grow in bone and cause bone disease, particularly the haematological malignancy multiple myeloma, and breast and prostate cancer bone metastasis. This has been based on the development of some of the most robust experimental models available of cancers that grow in bone, particular models of tumour cell dormancy and activation. This has been underpinned by ‘state of the art’ imaging technology, including two-photon intra-vital imaging, three-dimensional bioluminescence imaging and ex vivo and in vivo micro-CT imaging, along with detailed dynamic bone histomorphometric techniques.
Prof Croucher’s early research focused upon the role of the RANKL pathway in mediating the destructive osteolytic bone disease seen in multiple myeloma and has seen new drugs targeting this pathway move into the final stages of clinical development. More recently the focus has been on determining the role of the Wnt pathway in regulating osteoblast suppression, which has also resulted in the development of new agents to stimulate bone repair.
Most recently his research has switched to investigate the role of the local bone microenvironment in regulating the critical events associated with tumour cell colonisation of the skeleton, engagement in the ‘bone metastasis niche’ and in regulating tumour cell dormancy and activation. This has led to entirely new ways of thinking about how bone cells control bone metastasis. Prof Croucher’s research is currently funded by the Cancer Council, Cancer Research UK, the Wellcome Trust and the European Union.