NIHR | Manchester Biomedical Research Centre

BRC radiotherapy professor elected to Academy of Medical Sciences Fellowship

A leading radiotherapy professor has been recognised for his contributions to research, with a prestigious Fellowship from the Academy of Medical Sciences.

Professor Tim Illidge, New Radiotherapy-Immunotherapy Combinations Programme Lead in our Advanced Radiotherapy Theme, was awarded the honour in recognition of his work in radiotherapy, immunotherapy and lymphoma.

The Academy is the independent and expert voice of biomedical and health research in the UK. Academy Fellows are central to this, and the accolade recognises their remarkable contributions to biomedical and health science, as well as their ability to generate new knowledge and improve health.

Image shows Professor Tim Illidge

Fellows are elected based on their excellence in medical science, contributions to medicine and the society, and their range of achievements throughout their work. Professor Illidge is one of 60 new Fellows elected for 2022 and will be formally admitted to the Academy at a ceremony in September.

The Honorary Consultant in Clinical Oncology at The Christie NHS Foundation Trust is a world-leading clinical scientist, whose work is centred around the interaction between radiotherapy and immunotherapy. His research focuses on how the body’s immune system changes in response to radiotherapy (a process called immunomodulation) and how immunotherapies work in combination with radiotherapy treatments.

He discovered that tumour cells could adapt and become resistant to radiotherapy treatments. This led him to develop immunotherapy treatments – which harness the body’s immune cells – which use special ‘anti-PD1 antibodies’ to overcome resistance to radiotherapy. He has led several practice-changing trials, and his research discoveries have supported a global expansion in radiotherapy-drug and radiotherapy-immunotherapy combinations aimed at improving patient outcomes.

Professor Illidge, who is also Professor of Targeted Therapy and Oncology at The University of Manchester (UoM), said:

I am thrilled to receive a Fellowship of The Academy of Medical Sciences and I am extremely grateful for the support and collaboration of the outstanding colleagues I have been fortunate to work with in my career.

Professor Catharine West, BRC Advanced Radiotherapy Theme Lead, added:

“Many patients undergoing treatment for cancer will receive a combination of different therapies, and research in our Advanced Radiotherapy theme aims to improve the effectiveness of drug and immunotherapy treatments alongside radiotherapy.

This Fellowship from the Academy of Medical Sciences is a fantastic honour for Professor Illidge, and a real credit to the global impact of his work and the vast contributions he has made towards advancing the discovery, knowledge and improvement of these treatments for cancer patients.

Professor Illidge is also an NIHR Senior Investigator and received the Royal College of Radiologists 2018 Gold Medal in recognition of his clinical leadership and impact in radiotherapy and oncology. He has been a Cancer Research UK (CRUK)-funded researcher for more than 25 years, and is one of only a few clinicians to sit on the CRUK Discovery Research Committee.

He was also the first chair of the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) Clinical and Translational Radiotherapy (CTRAD) Group – which led to a 30 per cent increase in national radiotherapy clinical trial activity – and is currently the national clinical lead of the radiotherapy transformation programme and radiotherapy learning health care system advising NHS England.

Visit our Advanced Radiotherapy Theme page for more information on this research.