Cancer is a global challenge, and one that we must all fight. Research performed in the laboratories and clinics in Manchester has an impact across the world. We have, and continue to, forge and foster collaborations with research institutions and businesses to help realise our vision.
To that end, our researchers and scientists know that the expertise and facilities available to researchers in Manchester can prove vital in the fight against this disease. We’re incredibly proud of the collaborations we have developed over the past several decades.
Bring world leading oesophageal cancer early detection and research to Kenya
Supported by a £2.6m National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR), The University of Manchester, The Christie NHS Foundation Trust, and Kenyatta University Teaching, Referral and Research Hospital (KUTRRH) have partnered to raise awareness of squamous cell carcinoma of the oesophagus (OSCC) in Kenya and increase engagement in public screening opportunities using mobile detection units that travel across the country.
OSCC is the third most common cancer in Kenya, and the project aims empower the Kenyan academics and healthcare workers to link the early detection of the cancer using a digital transformation in cancer detection and outcome data through a “hub and spoke” system linking cancer hospitals and local healthcare authorities.
Identifying genetic variation of prostate cancer in Kenya
Prostate cancer is more common in different ethnicities with one in four black men compared to one in eight men from other ethnic backgrounds being diagnosed. David Wedge, Chair in Cancer Genomics and Data Sciences at The University of Manchester, is helping to address this disparity to ascertain what mutations occur in prostate cancers in Kenyan men.
David and his team are collecting samples from Kenyan men and extracting and sequencing the tumour DNA to compare mutation patterns with the aim of identifying the causing differences between populations. Read more about this partnership between researchers at the University of Nairobi and The University of Manchester.
Professor David Wedge is focusing on a move towards healthcare equality through his research to to ascertain what mutations occur in prostate cancers in Kenyan men. Read more in the MCRC Impact Case Study.
Transforming radiotherapy care pathways in Sri Lanka
With limited access to healthcare resources, radiotherapy researchers at Manchester are collaborating with colleagues in Sri Lanka to increase access to affordable treatment thus improving outcomes for patients with bladder cancer. Professor Ananya Choudhury, Chair and Honorary Consultant in Clinical Oncology, at The University of Manchester was one of the first consultants to accept and use a cheap and simple alternative to radiotherapy that showed survival from bladder cancer could be increased by 13%.
The benefits of this alternative, bladder carbogen and nicotinamide combined with radiotherapy (BCON), were recognised by Dr Nuradh Joseph, a Clinical Training Fellow visiting Manchester from Sri Lanka. Dr Joseph learnt how to deliver and implement this treatment in Sri Lanka, in partnership with university researchers. Since, BNOC has been accepted as an effective, low-cost and low-resource treatment against bladder cancer.
Improving the outcomes of childhood leukaemia in India
Faced with the challenge of how to improve the outcomes of children affected by Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL) in India, Professor Vaskar Saha sought to bring the lessons, systems and processes from Manchester and implement them into the health systems in the East.
As part of an over five-year project, Professor Saha has used his years of experience in laboratory technology to standardise treatments and processes and establish an equitable standardised healthcare system that provides treatments and financial support to families affected by the disease. As a result of his work, survival rates increased from 65% in 2014 to 80% in 2019, and also helped establish systems for more people to access the healthcare they needed.
Professor Vaskar Saha took on the challenge of improving Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL) survival rates in children in India. Read his story in this University of Manchester Magazine feature from 2019.
Improving the standard of care for biliary tract cancers around the world
Biliary Tract Cancer (BTC), a type of Hepato-pancreatico-biliary (HPB) cancer, is associated with high mortality. It has a relatively low-incidence in most high-income countries, with around 2,500 in the UK affected by the disease each year. However, BTC represents a major health problem in endemic areas such as Thailand and China. Faced with a rising global occurrence of BTCs, Professor Juan Valle, Consultant in Medical Oncology at The Christie, has been working to improve the standard of care for BTCs around the world.
A previous lack of research and poor evidence-based studies meant it was difficult to establish standards of care for treatments in patients. Juan and other oncologists realised a main problem was lack of collaboration in this field. This resulted in a UK collaboration which has spread to an international level and uses clinical trial evidence to continue to improve patient outcomes in this area.
A game-changing approach for the treatment of early-stage cervical cancer
Faced with costly cervical cancer screening and treatment, developing countries face 85% of worldwide cervical cancer deaths. In Kenya, cervical cancer is the second most common cancer in women and the most common cause of cancer deaths. Researchers at The University of Manchester are pioneering a new topical treatment for cervical cancer, forming global partnerships to reduce the fatality of this disease in developing countries.
Ian Hampson, Professor of Viral Oncology, alongside Dr Lynne Hampson, Reader in Viral Oncology, discovered a drug that could provide a simple, non-surgical treatment alternative for women with early stage cervical cancer. Through clinical trials, the treatment was shown to have an obvious positive effect when used as a self-applied treatment and is now being developed by Douglas Pharmaceuticals in New-Zealand with clinical trials of this new product expected to start in 2021.
Engaging with local communities to improve cancer care in Kenya
Researchers at Manchester have been forming partnerships in East Africa to better understand local populations and develop the right interventions in order to reduce any existing inequalities in cancer care. Dr Suzanne Johnson, Social Responsibility Lead for the Division of Cancer Sciences at Manchester, and her team are working with local teams in different Kenyan countries to ensure engagement activities are not just transactional but also inclusive and collaborative.
This work should help to understand how demographics and regional geographies impact on disease development, detection and treatment. These Manchester researchers have connected with existing Kenyan (KENCO) and pan-African (H3aArica) organisations where their research will complement and support current approaches in Kenyan communities. It is hoped they will build on existing relationships and activities and hope to apply this approach to tackle other global inequalities.
Collaborating with the US to improve Early Detection research
It has long been recognised that early detection and diagnosis of cancer is linked to improved outcomes and longer survival. The creation of the International Alliance for Cancer Early Detection (ACED) by Cancer Research UK in 2019 represents this importance as this put early detection and international collaboration at the forefront of discovery.
ACED represents a partnership between Cancer Research UK and five research institutions in the UK and US: the University of Cambridge, UCL, the University of Manchester, Oregon Health and Science University and The Canary Center at Stanford University.
Together, our researchers are collaborating to build capacity for new research collaborations, share expertise and common practice in early detection science, and train the next generation of early detection scientists.
Find out more about the research projects in Manchester on the ACED Manchester website.