Radiotherapy plays a vital role in the treatment of cancer and nearly 50% of people receive some form of radiotherapy at some point during cancer treatment. Our Radiotherapy BioAdaption theme covers a diverse range of focus areas, including sensitivity and toxicity biomarkers, image-guided therapy and combined modality approaches that encompass both targeted agents and immunotherapy. Ultimately, we are looking to personalise radiotherapy through the integration of patient-specific and tumour-specific information, increasingly in real-time.
Radiotherapy BioAdaption represents an approach to personalise radiotherapy based on the biology of the patient. To do this, we will develop combined imaging-biology biomarkers to individualise radiotherapy. Research will incorporate advance therapeutic techniques and equipment, including functional MRI, MR-Linac and Proton Beam and FLASH radiotherapies.
Over the last fifteen years we have supported major developments in image-guided radiotherapy, and we are now part of a worldwide research consortium with a mission to develop an integrated magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) guided system. The MR Linac will greatly enhance the real-time visualisation and tracking of cancer targets during the delivery of therapeutic radiation, and our world-leading expertise in this area will drive forward progress.
Our personalised medicine focus recognises the potential for the personalisation of radiotherapy – including changes in field, dose and fractionation and the use of chemotherapy – through the integration of tumour, patient and treatment information.
We are developing a theragnostics programme, which will develop and validate predictive models for survival, radiation response and toxicity of such a high accuracy that they can be used in clinical practice. By implementing such an approach, we can optimise radiotherapy delivery for individual patients and improve outcomes over conventional standardised treatments. We have a potential goldmine of information stored in databases and information systems, with new data being generated every day in clinics at The Christie. Data mining can assess the benefit of new interventions and technologies in all patients, notably those patients generally excluded from clinical trials.
Another approach to personalising radiotherapy is to develop predictive biomarkers. Using gene expression profiles, we have ascertained a signature reflecting hypoxia status. This has been implemented in a laryngeal cancer cohort and is now being assessed in a large trial of head and neck cancer patients.
Radiotherapy in Manchester
The Christie is home to one of the largest radiotherapy facility in Europe, treating 8,500 patients each year, and we have a proven track record in pioneering advanced techniques. It is also one of only two facilities worldwide to offer both Proton Beam Therapy and MR-Linac treatments.
In 2018, The Christie opened the NHS’s first and currently only high energy proton beam therapy centre which features three gantries for patient treatment as well as a dedicated fourth research gantry wholly dedicated to researching the cutting edge technology. The Christie is also home to an MR-Linac instrument, which combines highly precise imaging and radiotherapy delivery system allowing for real-time imaging and more personalised delivery of radiotherapy.
We have strong relationships with research organisations across the country:
- The Manchester Accelerator Group at the Cockcroft Institute of Accelerator Science and Technology
- The Ion Beam Centre in Surrey
- The National Physical Laboratory
And we are heavily involved in international consortia including the MR-Linac consortium as well as leading the European research project, Infrastructure in Proton International Research (INSPIRE) project to develop a world-leading infrastructure activity for PBT across Europe and the UK.
Cancer biomarkers are core to our vision of delivering precision medicine for all.
Cancer Early Detection
To beat cancer sooner, we need to detect it sooner. Find out about our focus on early detection science.
Digital Cancer Centre
Digital research underpins all our research themes. Discover how we leverage technology, AI and data to improve cancer outcomes.
Experimental Cancer Medicine
To improve patient lives, we need new therapies and treatments and early phase clinical trials to continue to be developed.
Acquisition of patient samples is key to translational research and we have developed an extensive biobanking infrastructure to allow collection at all points of the treatment pathway.