Director’s Update – May 2021
Hello, I hope that everyone has had a productive May.
This month, we have been acknowledging and celebrating our place on the global stage through our many impactful international collaborations.
We have now completed the next stage in strengthening our ongoing collaboration with Kenyatta University Teaching Referral and Research Hospital (KUTRRH), through an NIHR GACD grant. This new grant will fund new research initiatives in the early detection of oesophageal cancer, one of the most devastating in Kenya with a 99% case-mortality rate (source Globocan 2018).
For us in Manchester, this strategic partnership is a further step along our path to delivering precision medicine to all and enables us to further help people affected by cancer across the globe. We will share our knowledge and clinical practice with our colleagues, implementing processes and procedures we have found successful in this country to improve patient outcomes.
I am writing this report following this year’s virtual Greater Manchester Cancer Conference: Virtual Cancer Week. I thoroughly enjoyed the many different programmes of offer to our community this year and was very pleased to have been invited to speak on two topics that are of high strategic importance for the MCRC: digital cancer research and the importance of international partnerships.
My personal highlight was our session on international partnerships. We had an excellent discussion session with members of the university outlining why we set up international partnerships and the benefits we bring to partners around the world. This was followed by colleagues from Kenya and Sri Lanka joining to speak about specific research programmes. Prof. Ian Hampson and Dr Innocent Orora Managa spoke about how work during Innocent’s PhD in Manchester has been translated into improving outcomes for women with cervical cancer in Kenya. I was joined by Dr George Njoroge from KUTRRH where we outlined our NIHR grant and oesophageal early detection work. Finally, Dr Nuradh Joseph and Prof. Ananya Choudhury spoke about their long-standing radiotherapy training programme in Sri Lanka.
Other focuses from the week included:
- A public engagement session from early career researchers from the Manchester Breast Centre
- A focus on our aspirations in digital cancer research and electronic patient records (ePROMS/PREMS)
- Innovations in early detection research including AI for screening, nanotechnology, changing nice guidelines
There were many sessions throughout the week and various posters being presented. I would encourage everyone to check out the content on demand if you weren’t able to attend the sessions live.
For us in Manchester, this strategic partnership [with Kenyatta University] is a further step along our path to delivering precision medicine to all and enables us to further help people affected by cancer across the globe. We will share our knowledge and clinical practice with our colleagues, implementing processes and procedures we have found successful in this country to improve patient outcomes.
Professor Rob Bristow
Director of the MCRC
Since our last update we have also commenced the first in a series of regular updates about the Paterson Redevelopment Project penned by Prof. Nic Jones, Director of Strategic Initiatives. As the construction progress on the new world-leading facility continues at pace, we will continue to give regular updates and behind the scenes insights in a timely manner.
At the end of last month, I also attended the scientific launch of the Geoffrey Jefferson Brain Research Centre (GJBRC). This new centre will explore multiple research programmes in many brain diseases, including neuro-oncology. It is important that our aspirations in neuro-oncology continue to expand at pace and build upon the Tessa Jowel Centre of Excellence award from early March 2021.
I look forward to working closely with the theme lead, Dr David Coope and researchers Dr Catherine McBain and Dr Gerben Borst in due course. Further information is available on the GJBRC website.
Finally, I’d like to close by congratulating Prof. Emma Crosbie and team who won this year’s ‘Making a Difference’ award for Outstanding Benefit to Society through research for their work on testing women with womb cancer for Lynch syndrome. Congratulations to all involved!
I hope everyone has a productive June! Do great science and take care.