A senior radiologist at The Christie has been honoured with a professorship from the University of Chester following ground-breaking work with students looking at extending the life of stents used in cancer care.

Hans-Ulrich Laasch has worked at specialist cancer hospital The Christie, in Manchester, for 12 years. He is now a visiting professor at the University of Chester’s Department of Natural Sciences. 

Prof Laasch is a consultant radiologist and until last year was the head of interventional radiology for The Christie with particular interest in hepatobiliary (liver, gallbladder, bile ducts) intervention, gastrointestinal (stomach and bowel) stents, nutritional support and sedation.

Stents are small, flexible metal tubes that can be inserted into a patient’s body to relieve blockages caused by, for example, oesophageal or bowel cancer, and help to manage symptoms.

They are also the treatment of choice for relieving jaundice in patients with advanced pancreatic cancer where the insertion of a tube into the bile duct allows drainage of bile into the intestine.

Prof Laasch, who has two daughters and lives in Stockport, has been working with students and materials specialists at the University of Chester who have achieved impressive results in the field of metal degradation, helping to understand the failure mechanisms so the life of metal stents can be extended and patients do not have to have them replaced so often.

Prof Laasch said: “We’ve had astounding results from the students in the Faculty of Natural Sciences at Chester and the resonance from abroad has been excellent.

“I’m delighted to have been made a visiting professor by the university. It is testament to all the hard work the Christie interventional team has delivered over the last few years and the research undertaken on top of the full-time clinical work.”

Prof Laasch is a Fellow of the European Society of GI and Abdominal Radiology and immediate past president of the imaging section of the Manchester Medical Society. He is also honorary interventional radiologist, University Hospitals of South Manchester, expert adviser to the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) and faculty member of the British Society of Interventional Radiology and the international Society of GI Intervention.

The radiology department at The Christie is a reference site for six device companies, and Prof Laasch plays an active role in education on a national and international level, giving regular lectures and workshops for UK, European and international societies as well as the Royal College of Radiologists.

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.