World-renowned cancer researcher comes to Manchester

Press release posted 23 March 2018

One of the world’s leading experts in genitourinary oncology is to join The Christie and The University of Manchester.

Professor Silke Gillessen will start at the Manchester Cancer Research Centre in July as Professor and Chair in Genitourinary Oncology Systemic Therapy Research.

Professor Gillessen, who is currently a senior consultant at Kantonsspital St Gallen in Switzerland, will start her role in the summer.

Her research will focus on precision oncology and novel treatments for prostate, testicular and penile cancers.

She has led numerous clinical trials since 1995 and won the prestigious SAKK/Pfizer Award in 2011 and is lead organiser of the Advanced Prostate Cancer Consensus Conference (APCCC) which informs cancer physicians how to use state-of-the-art therapies for their patients.

The medical oncologist aims to support more biomarker-driven clinical trials and to further personalise medicine in prostate cancer using molecular targeted drugs and immunotherapy. 

She said: “I had been considering a move to a leadership position in several places worldwide, but the Manchester team and the reputation of The Christie became very attractive.

“The research here is so strong. There’s a great connection between lab and clinic and there is a good deal of wider expertise within the University, for example in immunology and biomarker development.

“And I also look forward to working with other groups such as imaging and materials sciences where we can focus on new applications to cancer and solutions to clinical questions.

“Metastatic prostate cancer is still a huge challenge to both medicine and research. It is a devastating disease: for most men, it will spread to their bones and lymph nodes and is often fatal.

“My work is find ways to optimise both the treatment and quality of life for these patients.

The University of Manchester’s Professor Rob Bristow is Director of the MCRC, formed in 2006 by The University of Manchester, Cancer Research UK and The Christie NHS Foundation Trust

He is also Chief Academic Officer at The Christie.

He said: “I am extremely pleased that Professor Gillessen is joining us in Manchester to further our international ambitions in cancer team science. Her research record in developing evidence-based cancer medicine and her ability to drive international consensus opinion in how to best treat prostate cancer patients will be a superb addition to our genito-urinary (GU) clinical research programme and our MOVEMBER-Prostate Cancer UK Centre of Excellence in Prostate Cancer Research.

“I am proud of our GU clinical care team whose members are some of the most experienced cancer clinicians in the world. Professor Gillessen’s research will catalyse an already ambitious programme and offer novel treatments to our patients.

Professor Ian Greer, Vice-President and Dean of the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health, said: “I am delighted to welcome Professor Gillessen to the team at Manchester. As one of the world’s leading experts in genitourinary oncology, her experience and skill will be an invaluable addition to our work at the Manchester Cancer Research Centre.”

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