Cancer treatment and research in Manchester
Situated in the north west of England, the Greater Manchester metropolitan area covers 500 square miles, making it one of the largest metropolitan areas in the United Kingdom (UK). With a population of 2.8 million people, it is the most populous area of the UK outside of the capital city London. Manchester has a rich industrial heritage and has long been a city to pave the way with scientific innovations; from splitting the atom (Rutherford, 1917) to creating the first programmable computer (1948) to the invention of graphene (Nobel Prize for Physics, 2010).
Modern-day Manchester is notable for its architecture, musical exports, media links, scientific and engineering output, and a strong cultural identity. Greater Manchester has the highest number of theatre seats per head of the population, outside of London, and has four professional orchestras. The Manchester Arena (seating 21,000) is the largest indoor arena in Europe. Football is woven into the cultural fabric and the regions museums showcase the industrial and social heritage. Despite rumours of an inclement climate, Manchester receives less annual rainfall (80cm) than the UK average (113cm).
Transport links in Greater Manchester are excellent, with a major international airport close to the city centre and rail connections to all parts of the UK. Housing is relatively inexpensive, schools are good and daily travel is straightforward. The city is within easy reach of the Lake District, Peak District and Yorkshire Dales national parks.
The Christie NHS Foundation Trust
The Christie NHS Foundation Trust treats over 40,000 patients with cancer each year and is the largest single-site cancer centre in Europe. The Christie serves both the local population across Greater Manchester and Cheshire of 3.2 million people and patients referred from across the UK (around 26% of the total). The main hospital site is in Withington, south Manchester with satellite hospital sites in Oldham and Salford.
The Christie is known for many world-firsts which have improved global cancer treatment, and research has been carried out at the Christie for over 100 years. As well as housing the world’s largest early phase clinical trials unit, it became the first UK centre to be officially accredited as a comprehensive cancer centre.
The Christie also has its own School of Oncology (the first of its kind) enhancing the education and knowledge of healthcare professionals across the country.
The University Of Manchester
The University of Manchester is one of the largest universities in the UK, with an annual turnover of £500 million, over 9000 staff and 30,000 students (of which 7500 are postgraduate students). There are hundreds of specialist research groups undertaking teaching and research of international significance. The University's research ‘beacons’ are examples of pioneering discoveries, interdisciplinary collaboration and cross-sector partnerships that are tackling some of the biggest questions faced by society, and cancer is one of the five beacons.
The Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health is made up of three schools (Biological Sciences, Medical Sciences and Health Sciences) and The Division of Cancer Sciences is one of the six divisions within the School of Medical Sciences.
Manchester Academic Health Science Centre (MAHSC)
Established in 2009, this partnership brings together The University of Manchester and six local National Health Service (NHS) organisations, uniting healthcare providers with academics and researchers. The MAHSC enables novel associations between traditional departments, new centres and institutes, focusing on six research domains, one of which is cancer.
This coordinated approach is particularly important because, in addition to The Christie, specialist cancer services are provided at several other hospital sites which also host research activity. Saint Mary’s Hospital (part of Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust) is a regional referral centre for patients with gynaecological cancers. St Mary’s is also home to research into Genetic Medicine.
The Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital is the biggest children’s hospital in the UK and oncology is one of the major specialist themes. Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust provides services relating to brain and skin cancer for the whole of Greater Manchester, and also offers highly specialised Stereotactic Radiosurgery.
Specialist lung cancer surgery for patients across Manchester and Cheshire is based at University Hospital of South Manchester NHS Foundation Trust, which is also home to The Nightingale Centre and Genesis Prevention Centre (both of which focus on patients with breast cancer).
Manchester Cancer Research Centre (MCRC)
The Manchester Cancer Research Centre was formed in 2006 by The University of Manchester, Cancer Research UK and The Christie NHS Foundation Trust and has since become the cancer research arm of the Manchester Academic Health Science Centre.
The Centre is a unique collaboration that brings together the expertise, vision and resources of our partner organisations, all of which have formidable individual reputations in the field of cancer research. Uniting researchers working across Greater Manchester, our partnership creates the integrated approach essential to progress. The MCRC provides central facilities where scientists, doctors and nurses can work closely together.
Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute
Cancer Research UK (CRUK) is the largest independent cancer research organisation in the world, supporting the work of over 4,000 scientists, doctors and nurses. With the aim to ‘beat cancer sooner’, this publicly-funded cancer charity (CRUK) funds research into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of patients with cancer.
The CRUK Manchester Institute is one of five research institutes core-funded by Cancer Research UK and is part of The University of Manchester and Manchester Cancer Research Centre. Research spans the whole spectrum of cancer research, from programmes investigating the molecular and cellular basis of cancer, to those focused on translational research and the development of therapeutics.
Clinical Fellowship training opportunities at The Christie NHS Foundation Trust
Different kinds of fellows are described below;
1. Laboratory research-focused clinical fellows;
- Predominantly based in a laboratory under the supervision of an academic consultant and/or a scientific mentor
- Suitable for out-of-programme/post-Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT) UK trainees or senior trainees from overseas, who wish to pursue an academic career path
- Involves working towards a formal research qualification (eg Doctor of Philosophy [PhD] or Masters degree (in oncology or research) and may involve writing grant applications or research protocols
- Would have limited, defined clinical commitments linked to the research project
2. Clinical research-focused clinical fellows;
- Predominantly based within the Department of Medical Oncology under the supervision of a consultant clinician
- Suitable for out-of-programme/post-CCT UK trainees or senior trainees from overseas, who wish to pursue an academic career path
- Two different possibilities
2a) Formal clinical research working towards PhD, MD or Master’s degree in research (MRes)
These fellows have chosen a formal training programme for either a PhD, MD or Masters. Depending on the project, this will usually involve performing and publishing self-led clinical research and audit activities including protocol-writing.Details on the Masters in Research (MRes) in Experimental Cancer Medicine can be found here. Information about PhD programmes are available on the University of Manchester webpage.
2b) Clinical research fellow without formal track
These are fellows that have been accepted within different disease groups and will have planned projects (usually 1 year or more dependent on funding). Depending on the projects this will involve splitting time between research and a moderate clinical commitment and may involve clinical research and audit activities, including protocol-writing. These fellows will gain significant research experience but will not be working towards a formal research qualification.
3.Service provision-focused clinical fellows;
- The aim of these fellow posts is to gain clinical experience or disease-specific expertise
- Suitable for all levels of trainees from UK or overseas, who wish to gain experience in Medical Oncology
- Although not specifically here to pursue research, these fellows are expected to participate in research clinics and audit activities (as part of their experience of training)
- The majority of the working week will be dedicated to clinical commitments