Personalized and powerful: UK to lead next-generation radiotherapy research

November 03, 2019

The UK will be transformed into a global hub for radiotherapy research, pioneering the use of the latest techniques such as FLASH radiotherapy and artificial intelligence, with a new £56 million* research network announced by Cancer Research UK today (Monday).

The network, Cancer Research UK RadNet, is the charity's largest ever investment in radiotherapy research and will accelerate the development of advanced radiotherapy techniques, challenging the boundaries of this mainstay treatment through world-first exploratory projects.

It will unite seven centres of excellence across the country**: the Universities of Cambridge, Glasgow, Leeds, Manchester and Oxford, the Cancer Research UK City of London Centre (a partnership between UCL, Queen Mary University of London, King's College London the Francis Crick Institute) and The Institute of Cancer Research, London in partnership with The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust.

Michelle Mitchell, chief executive of Cancer Research UK, said: "Radiotherapy is a cornerstone of cancer medicine, with around 3 in 10 patients receiving it as part of their primary treatment. The launch of our network marks a new era of radiotherapy research in the UK. Scientists will combine advances in our understanding of cancer biology with cutting-edge technology to make this treatment more precise and effective than ever before".

Cancer Research UK supported some of the earliest research into radiotherapy, pioneering the use of radium to treat cancer in the 1920s. Modern radiotherapy works by targeting tumours with x-ray radiation, killing cancer cells by irreversibly damaging their DNA. Today, over 130,000 patients are treated with radiotherapy on the NHS every year.

Cancer Research UK RadNet aims to improve cancer survival by optimising and personalising radiotherapy. The centres will spearhead the development of new techniques for delivering radiotherapy and investigate new radiotherapy-drug combinations, including immunotherapies. Scientists will also focus on reducing the long-term side effects associated with this treatment, improving patients' quality of life during and after treatment.

The innovative research that Cancer Research UK RadNet will deliver includes:Cancer Research UK RadNet will be a beacon, attracting leading researchers from across the globe to boost radiotherapy research capacity in the UK. £13 million has been allocated to form new research groups and fund additional PhD students in Manchester, London and Cambridge, ensuring the UK's radiotherapy research community continues to thrive. The network will promote collaboration between diverse scientific fields, with a share of £4 million available to all centres for joint research projects, conferences and secondments between locations.

Dr Adrian Crellin, Cancer Research UK Trustee and Former Vice-President of the Royal College of Radiologists, said: "I've seen first-hand how successful radiotherapy can be for patients that I treat, but it's been frustrating to see the UK lagging behind other countries when it comes to prioritising research into this vital treatment. Cancer Research UK's investment will overhaul radiotherapy research in the UK to bring the next generation of treatments to patients sooner."
-end-
For media enquiries contact Thomas Bullen in the Cancer Research UK press office on 020 3469 5171 or, out of hours, on 07050 264 059.

Notes to editor:

Cancer Research UK's executive director of research and innovation, Dr Iain Foulkes, is announcing the radiotherapy network at 11am today (Monday) at the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) conference in Glasgow, during the session Celebrating collaborative radiotherapy research in the UK - CTRad 10 years on.

*over five years

**the Universities of Manchester and Cambridge and the Cancer Research UK City of London Centre have been awarded Radiation Research Unit status, receiving funding for infrastructure and research programmes. The Universities of Glasgow, Leeds and Oxford and The Institute of Cancer Research, London/The Royal Marsden have been awarded Radiation Research Centre status, receiving funding for infrastructure.

The University of Manchester has been awarded £16.5m, research will include:The Cancer Research UK City of London Centre has been awarded £14m, research will include:The London partners will also work closely with University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust and Barts Health NHS Trust.

The University of Cambridge has been awarded £8m, research will include:The University of Glasgow has been awarded £3.5m, research will include:The University of Leeds has been awarded £3.5m, research will include:The Institute of Cancer Research, London and The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust have been awarded £3.5m, research will include:The University of Oxford has been awarded £3.5m, research will include:About Cancer Research UKFor further information about Cancer Research UK's work or to find out how to support the charity, please call 0300 123 1022 or visit http://www.cancerresearchuk.org. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Cancer Research UK

Related Cancer Articles from Brightsurf:

New blood cancer treatment works by selectively interfering with cancer cell signalling
University of Alberta scientists have identified the mechanism of action behind a new type of precision cancer drug for blood cancers that is set for human trials, according to research published in Nature Communications.

UCI researchers uncover cancer cell vulnerabilities; may lead to better cancer therapies
A new University of California, Irvine-led study reveals a protein responsible for genetic changes resulting in a variety of cancers, may also be the key to more effective, targeted cancer therapy.

Breast cancer treatment costs highest among young women with metastic cancer
In a fight for their lives, young women, age 18-44, spend double the amount of older women to survive metastatic breast cancer, according to a large statewide study by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Cancer mortality continues steady decline, driven by progress against lung cancer
The cancer death rate declined by 29% from 1991 to 2017, including a 2.2% drop from 2016 to 2017, the largest single-year drop in cancer mortality ever reported.

Stress in cervical cancer patients associated with higher risk of cancer-specific mortality
Psychological stress was associated with a higher risk of cancer-specific mortality in women diagnosed with cervical cancer.

Cancer-sniffing dogs 97% accurate in identifying lung cancer, according to study in JAOA
The next step will be to further fractionate the samples based on chemical and physical properties, presenting them back to the dogs until the specific biomarkers for each cancer are identified.

Moffitt Cancer Center researchers identify one way T cell function may fail in cancer
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers have discovered a mechanism by which one type of immune cell, CD8+ T cells, can become dysfunctional, impeding its ability to seek and kill cancer cells.

More cancer survivors, fewer cancer specialists point to challenge in meeting care needs
An aging population, a growing number of cancer survivors, and a projected shortage of cancer care providers will result in a challenge in delivering the care for cancer survivors in the United States if systemic changes are not made.

New cancer vaccine platform a potential tool for efficacious targeted cancer therapy
Researchers at the University of Helsinki have discovered a solution in the form of a cancer vaccine platform for improving the efficacy of oncolytic viruses used in cancer treatment.

American Cancer Society outlines blueprint for cancer control in the 21st century
The American Cancer Society is outlining its vision for cancer control in the decades ahead in a series of articles that forms the basis of a national cancer control plan.

Read More: Cancer News and Cancer Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.