The burden of cancer is high in Greater Manchester and we are developing personalised medicine approaches for our patients targeting specific therapy to an individual’s cancer.
Increasingly this approach requires detailed molecular analysis of their cancer in order to select the most appropriate treatment. Although targeted treatments improve patient outcomes, cancer often becomes resistant and therefore it is important to continually monitor a patient’s tumour status over time. Tumour biopsies are invasive and not always feasible to repeat during a course of treatment.
An important aspect of our research, playing to our international strengths, is the development and implementation of so-called ‘liquid biopsies’ where we seek information of a patient’s tumour status from a simple blood test.
We are also developing biomarkers to support the use of novel treatments aimed at awakening the patient’s immune system to fight their cancer, so we know which patients to treat and minimise risk of treatment toxicities.
Finally, we are setting up exciting studies where patients who have had their tumours removed by surgery can give a blood sample in their community for shipment to our laboratories to examine their risk of tumour recurrence.
Our Cancer Precision Medicine researchers are based at The Christie NHS Foundation Trust, which sees around 15,000 new cancer patients per year, delivering over 45,000 treatments.
Our fully integrated partnership between The University of Manchester, NHS Trusts, CRUK Manchester Centre, CRUK Manchester Institute and Manchester’s NIHR/CRUK Experimental Cancer Medicines Centre, which recruits the highest number of patients into clinical trials across the network, enables us to rapidly translate research from the laboratory to the patient’s bedside.