One of the world’s leading prostate cancer experts has started work at The Christie in Manchester.

Professor Rob Bristow is the new Director of the Manchester Cancer Research Centre (MCRC), having moved from the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and University of Toronto, Canada. He has been appointed by The University of Manchester to lead its cancer research strategy and will also be Chief Academic Officer at The Christie, providing strategic oversight of cancer research and education strategies for the hospital trust. Professor Bristow will also begin to see Christie patients from Spring 2018.

Chief Executive of The Christie, Roger Spencer, said: “Rob Bristow is an outstanding consultant with a reputation for world-class research. At The Christie we continue to attract people of the highest calibre to work alongside our team of eminent specialists. Our patients will now have access to treatment by one of the world’s leading prostate cancer experts.”

Professor Bristow has led a multi-national consortium to identify genomic signatures that predict the course of progression of prostate cancer and responses to drugs, surgery and radiotherapy. This work has the potential to dramatically advance personalised medicine approaches to treating aggressive prostate cancer.

He said: “I’m looking forward to working with the outstanding network of scientific and clinical researchers in Greater Manchester and together we will define personalised cancer medicine for patients worldwide. This will be achieved by energetically driving Manchester-based basic and translational cancer research into our clinics.

“Manchester is a place to do great things. It has a proven commitment to cancer research, as well as a top-tier, cancer-specific hospital in The Christie that treats more patients than any other centre in the UK or Europe.  Importantly, Manchester is renowned for its ‘Team Science’ approach and has extensive infrastructure support with access to state-of-the-art technologies and expertise.”

Professor Bristow’s primary research interests are in tumour hypoxia, DNA damage signalling and DNA repair in tumours, and the genomics of prostate cancer progression and cancer treatment response. He is particularly interested in novel clinical trials that intensify cancer therapy to prostate cancer patients whose tumours harbour aggressive genetic changes and hypoxic sub-regions.

He is Editor of the 5th Edition Basic Science of Oncology and has more than 250 published papers and book chapters. He is twice a Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI) awardee. He was made a Canadian Cancer Society Research Scientist in 2004 and is an Honorary Fellow of the European Society for Radiotherapy and Oncology (ESTRO).

Professor Bristow was previously a Clinician-Scientist and Professor within the Departments of Radiation Oncology and Medical Biophysics at the University of Toronto. He was a Senior Scientist at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre treating genitourinary cancers.

He served as lead Principle Investigator for the Canadian component of the International Cancer Genome Consortium (ICGC) whole genome prostate cancer sequencing project (CPC-GENE) and sat on a number of scientific advisory boards and committees for: Prostate Cancer Canada, the Prostate Cancer Foundation (USA), the Canadian Cancer Society Research Institute, the MOVEMBER Foundation, the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) and the American Society for Therapeutic Radiation Oncology (ASTRO).

Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, President and Vice-Chancellor at The University of Manchester, commented: “Rob Bristow is joining Manchester at a pivotal time and, as an internationally-renowned clinician-scientist, he combines excellent laboratory research with deep clinical understanding that will significantly benefit patients.

Manchester is one of only two designated Major Centres supported by Cancer Research UK (CRUK) with more than £40 million awarded over the next five years, and cancer research is a prominent theme in the recent £28 million award of a Biomedical Research Centre.  Professor Bristow will also take up the post of Senior Group Leader in the CRUK Manchester Institute.

Sir Harpal Kumar, Chief Executive of CRUK said: “We’re delighted that Professor Bristow will be moving to Manchester to lead our world-class team at the Manchester Cancer Research Centre.

“Professor Bristow is globally renowned for his groundbreaking work outlining how genomic faults in prostate cancer can predict treatment response. Patients treated at The Christie hospital will greatly benefit from this expertise.

“As a clinician-scientist Professor Bristow has been at the forefront of developments in radiotherapy and medical biophysics. I am confident that his leadership and personal scientific excellence will drive Manchester further forward as a powerhouse in cancer research, not just in the North West of England but across the world.”

Dr Richard Preece, chair of the Greater Manchester Cancer Board and Executive Lead for Quality for the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, said: “Our region-wide cancer plan has a particular focus on the importance of research in improving our knowledge of cancer and how this leads to outstanding care for patients. Greater Manchester is already well known as a centre for quality cancer research and exceptional clinical and scientific knowledge, and the appointment of a distinguished academic such as Rob Bristow is excellent news.”