The Christie NHS Foundation Trust, an international leader in cancer treatment and research, and The University of Manchester have jointly appointed a Strategic Director in experimental cancer medicine as part of the Manchester Cancer Research Centre (MCRC).

This appointment will push forward advances in precision medicine (the tailoring of medical treatment to the individual characteristics of each patient) and enable The Christie's renowned clinical trials unit to make even more world-leading breakthroughs in early phase clinical trials. The MCRC is a partnership between The Christie, The University of Manchester and Cancer Research UK and in June will open a new building that will house150 scientists carrying out fundamental research, alongside 100 research and development staff from The Christie.

Professor Andrew Hughes, who lives in Wilmslow started his post on 1st April. He was previously vice-president for early oncology clinical development at AstraZeneca and has held a joint appointment with The University of Manchester as Chair in Experimental Therapeutics since 2008. Andrew's post is part funded by The Christie charity and the University.

Professor Hughes said: "I'm really excited about being part of the MCRC. We have an enormous opportunity to be a major international centre for experimental cancer medicine, to make more early phase clinical trials available to significantly more patients.

"We will be introducing molecular profiling via a blood test, which looks at each person's cancer tumour and studies the genetic characteristics to identify and create targeted therapies that are designed to work better for a patient's specific cancer tumour profile.

"Offering this personalised approach to cancer treatment will allow us to make clinical trials the first course of treatment for many patients, instead of it being the last resort. This will mean we will often cut out chemotherapy or at least delay it and provide a cost saving precision medicine that potentially could be more effective.

"In the next five years, we aim to have 500 patients a year on clinical trials and 50 open trials available at any time. This will see The Christie being the top centre for clinical trials in Europe and one of the top five in the world."

Roger Spencer, Chief Executive for The Christie said: "Andrew will be a crucial member of the senior team at the MCRC. His expertise in the development of new cancer medicines and leadership experience will be vital to the MCRC achieving its ambition to become one of the largest centres for experimental cancer medicine trials worldwide.

"Patients are at the heart of everything we do at The Christie and Andrew's work will help us to offer early phase clinical trials to even more patients."

Professor Nic Jones, Director of the MCRC, said: "We are immensely pleased to have Andrew on board, helping us to put Manchester at the forefront of developments in experimental cancer medicine. He has already set out ambitious plans for the growth of MCRC research into more personalised treatments for cancer patients, and I look forward to his contribution further building our already strong international reputation in clinical cancer research."

Being located on the same site as much of The University of Manchester's pioneering laboratory research into cancer biology, the clinical trials unit at The Christie is in a unique position to drive progress towards new anti-cancer treatments and run trials that are much more focused on individual patient characteristics.

The Christie is a world-renowned cancer centre with a large patient population, treating approximately 44,000 every year. The world's first use of breast cancer drugs Tamoxifen and Stilboestrol were provided at The Christie in 1970 and 1944 and in 2009, the first clinical trials for pioneering radio immunotherapy in Europe, were undertaken at The Christie.