Research staff at The Christie NHS Foundation Trust in Manchester have been recognised for their exceptional work at the specialist cancer centre’s annual staff awards.

Nearly 300 staff were nominated for accolades at a special staff awards event hosted by the Chief executive of The Christie, Roger Spencer and Chair, Christine Outram.

The Experimental Cancer Medicine Team won Research Team of the Year and aims to be one of the top three units of its kind in Europe, in terms of recruitment, with more than 180 patients taking part in experimental cancer studies in 2017.

Professor Andrew Hughes was presented with the Outstanding Contribution to Research and Education award. Professor Hughes, from Wilmslow, has transformed experimental cancer medicine at The Christie and it is now the highest performing unit in the UK.

Dr Fiona Thistlethwaite was awarded the Researcher of the Year title for her work on setting up the Manchester iMATCH centre. The centre is one of only three in the UK awarded funding to help increase the amount of clinical trials to help patients with debilitating conditions .This is done using patients’ own cells as a ‘drug’ to treat disease by specially treating them to create therapeutic properties before re-introducing them to the patient’s body.

Elaine Blowers won the Research Nurse of the Year award for a wide range of projects delivered at the Manchester Clinical Research Facility thanks to funding from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). This has included a £3m upgrade of the early phase unit, meaning more patients can access clinical trials.

Jane Rogan was awarded Research Administrator of the Year for her work to deliver the Manchester biobank service which was severely affected by the fire at the Paterson building last year.

Roger Spencer, Chief Executive at The Christie, said: “We are all extremely proud of our staff and the dedication they show to their work and the care they give to our patients. The research division is integral to our offering as a leading cancer centre and ensures that patients have access to complex and early phase clinical trials which in many cases results in improved outcomes and extended life expectancy. The recognition the team has received is testament to its efforts and is fully deserved.”

The Christie NHS Foundation Trust has been ranked ‘Outstanding’ by the health regulator the Care Quality Commission (CQC) which referred to it as ‘exceptional’ and ‘a leader in its field’. It not only commended the Trust for its effectiveness and care, but highlighted its work in shaping the future of cancer care and noted the reach and influence of its clinical research projects. The CQC also rated The Christie the best specialist trust in the country, and one of the top three trusts overall in England.