Our strengths:

  • International leaders in multi-disciplinary radiotherapy research, going from basic science through preclinical, translational and clinical research
  • The expertise and infrastructure to investigate complex radiation drug combinations in the laboratory and to translate novel findings into early-phase clinical trials
  • High-quality research environment for advanced radiotherapy delivery and imaging (research linear accelerator since 2002 and part of MR Linac consortium)
  • Large cancer population (8,000+ patients receive radiotherapy treatment with 16 networked linear accelerators) including stereotactic, makes the group uniquely placed in the UK to perform clinical radiotherapy research; largest brachytherapy practice in the UK, dedicated theatre MR guidance
  • Proton beam therapy facility and research centre in development

Radiotherapy-related research at The Christie is dedicated to understanding and optimising radiation therapy to improve outcomes for patients. Our researchers carry out studies to develop, improve, optimise, individualise and evaluate the use of radiation to treat cancer.  The multidisciplinary team of internationally renowned clinicians, physicists and biologists has one of the broadest portfolios of radiotherapy research in the UK. The long-term vision is to deliver personalised radiotherapy for every patient, producing the best outcomes while minimising side-effects and toxicity.

The radiotherapy related research team comprises clinical oncologists and medical physicists and engineers at The Christie who link with academics at the University of Manchester to form the largest multidisciplinary group in radiotherapy research in the UK. The Christie has 40 dedicated clinical research leads in each tumour site. Likewise, members of Christie Medical Physics and Engineering (CMPE) and radiographers provide leadership in new technologies and clinical radiotherapy development. High-quality University of Manchester biological and physical scientists form the bedrock of our research. Members are based at The Christie, the CRUK Manchester Institute (CRUK MI), the Wolfson Molecular Imaging Centre (WMIC) and on the main campus of the University of Manchester.

The Christie is one of largest radiotherapy units in the world and more than 130,000 radiation treatments are delivered per year. There is an outstanding legacy of research at the site that includes the development of the Manchester brachytherapy system, and contributions to the development of Linac accelerators in the 1950s, Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT), Image Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT), cone beam imaging and Volumetric arc Therapy (VMAT).

Many members of the Christie Radiotherapy Related Research (RRR) team are academics or honorary academics in the RRR centre of the Institute of Cancer Sciences. The University of Manchester, Christie and Institute of Cancer of Sciences researchers combine with academics in the School of Pharmacy at the University of Manchester to make the Manchester Cancer Research Centre (MCRC) RRR group that was established in 2007. Professor Tim Illidge leads the RRR group, which meets monthly as a collaborative and collegiate group with a strong national presence.

Team objectives

Our research supports basic, translational and clinical research organised into main research areas:

  • PRECISE (Proton Research at the Christie and Institute of Cancer SciencEs) aims to develop a pipeline going from basic research, through preclinical to translational research and clinical trials, all of which are designed to improve the benefits to patients and reduce toxicity and other side-effects
  • Theragnostics aims to use the large amounts of diagnostic, radiotherapy planning and outcome data now available. It will exploit the data by using new developments in data mining and web technologies to extract information that can be used to predict and personalise radiotherapy treatments
  • Advanced radiotherapy encompasses new developments in radiotherapy such as MR Linac and proton beam therapy to draw on strengths from the main research groups in the RRR and develop new radiotherapy treatments
  • The Targeted Therapy group evaluates the contribution of RT-induced immunogenic cell death to the induction of tumour-specific immune responses; determines how best to integrate RT with immunomodulatory agents to augment such responses and enhance therapeutic outcome; and investigates how combination with RT and immune modulation can be utilised to increase the efficacy and durability of anti-CD20 mAb therapy in B-cell lymphomas
  • The Developing Technologies group's research themes are measurement-guided preparation, delivery and follow-up in cancer radiation therapy