CRUK RadNet Manchester benefits from the existing infrastructure and facilities within Manchester across the various strategic partners of the CRUK Manchester Centre. This ecosystem enables RadNet Manchester to lever support, expertise and facilities from other externally-funded infrastructure, networks and centres, some of which are detailed below.
Radiotherapy Facilities at The Christie
The Christie is home to one of the largest radiotherapy departments in Europe as well as being one of only two centres worldwide that offer MR-Linac and proton beam therapy. The Proton Beam Therapy Centre, opened in 2018, offers three treatment gantries as well as a dedicated Research Room to investigate the cutting edge treatment. The Christie currently houses ten linear accelerators in the Withington site, with two further accelerators at The Christie’s Salford site and another two at the Oldham site. The Christie also offers specialist linear accelerators for Stereotactic Ablative Body Radiotherapy (SABR), to treat lung, spine, liver, adrenal, lymph nodes and bone disease tumours.
In addition, the Withington site is home to an MRI-guided radiotherapy system called the MR-linac enabling real-time imaging during treatment to more accurately deliver radiotherapy beam to tumours.
At The Christie, there is an MRI-guided radiotherapy system called the MR-linac enabling real-time imaging during treatment to more accurately deliver radiotherapy beam to tumours. The Elekta Unity MR-linac is the first machine in the world to combine high field-strength MR imaging with a linear accelerator in a single system. In order to unlock the true potential of this novel technology, researchers at The Christie and The University of Manchester are undertaking clinical and translational research studies in prostate, cervical, lung and hepatobiliary-pancreatic cancers. Now treating using ‘adapt to shape’ which means the team can deviate from a ‘one size fits all’ approach to have the flexibility to adapt the treatment plan to the patients’ anatomy presenting in each day’s treatment session.
Proton Beam Therapy Centre
In December 2018, The Christie became the first NHS site to treat patients with high-energy proton beam therapy (PBT). PBT is an advanced form of radiotherapy used for the treatment of complex and hard-to-treat cancers in children and adults. It uses a high energy beam of protons rather than high energy X-rays to deliver a dose of radiotherapy. It directs the radiation treatment to precisely where it is needed with minimal damage to surrounding tissue. It has the potential to improve the precision and targeting of radiation therapy (e.g. to radio-resistant hypoxic tumours) leading to fewer side effects, faster recovery and better outcomes for patients.
The PBT Centre also houses a dedicated research room, developed in parallel with the clinical treatment facility and features a pencil beam scanning nozzle identical to that in the clinical treatment rooms. The research room has two horizontal beam lines which transport the beam to the scanning nozzle and then to modular experimental end-stations. These end-stations are interchangeable to allow the maximum flexibility in the design of experiments and optimum use of the beam time available for research. Adjoining the research room there is a biological preparation room for setting up experiments. It is envisaged that the research room will be run as a national facility. This will allow external researchers to undertake their own high-energy proton experiments here.
Wolfson Molecular Imaging Centre
The Wolfson Molecular Imaging Centre is co-located with The Christie and offers pre-clinical PET and MR imaging facilities (access to SARRP), as well as providing MR and PET-MR imaging to facilitate high quality research to inform the identification of effective new treatments and the targeted use of treatment for greatest patient benefit.
Supporting infrastructure and facilities
Further support for RadNet is leveraged from the following other organisations across Manchester:
- The MCRC Biobank – supplying patient samples for research purposes.
- Manchester Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre – helping to deliver novel early phase clinical trials
- Cancer Biomarkers Centre – Collaborating with Prof. Caroline Dive to develop novel biomarker led studies.
- Core facilities at the University of Manchester and CRUK Manchester Institute – in particular transcriptomics, histology and imaging
- Lydia Becker Institute of Immunology and Inflammation
- Geoffrey Jefferson Brain Research Centre
- Christie digital and big data infrastructure, also captured within the Digital Cancer Centre
About CRUK RadNet Manchester
CRUK RadNet Manchester is a £16.5m Radiation Research Unit in collaboration with The Christie
RadNet Manchester's research covers three distinct work packages and four cross-cutting research hubs.