MCRC Director’s Update – July 2021

Professor Robert Bristow in his office in the OCRB

Hello, I hope everyone is well and having an enjoyable summer.

International Advisory Board

We started this month with the inaugural virtual meeting of our new International Advisory Board (IAB). Chaired by Professor David Jaffray, Chief Technology and Digital Officer at the MD Anderson Cancer Centre at the University of Texas, our IAB has participants from across the globe from a variety of theme and disease site specialisms to offer a balanced and authoritative reflection of cancer research activities.

The purpose of this board is to assess and advise on the scientific direction and impact of our research, and will encompass research within the MCRC and Cancer Research UK (CRUK) Manchester Centre.

Our meeting was highly informative and reviewed the prospective research themes that make up the 2022 renewal bid for the CRUK Manchester Centre. We have received some very constructive feedback on our research and how each programme can deliver the international impact we are aiming for in terms of delivering new practice-changing and life-changing treatments.

The advice of the board sets us up very well for our renewal at the end of summer. Further details of the individual members of our IAB can be found on our Governance webpage.

The Weiss Medal

This month, I was honoured to receive the Weiss Medal from the Association of Radiation Researchers, in recognition of my work in radiation that dates back to the 1990’s.

I have always been fascinated by the ability to predict individual patient response to radiotherapy and understand how the biology of tumours may alter this individual response. This work continued when I arrived in Manchester over four years ago, and has evolved into ongoing collaborations with Professors Ananya Choudhury and Catharine West to discover how tumour hypoxia alters radiation response in primary human specimens.

It truly is a great honour to receive this award, following in the steps of two of my mentors who have received it before: Professor W. Gillies McKenna at Oxford and 2016 recipient Professor Catharine West at The University of Manchester.

It also recognises the impact of our work in Manchester, underpinning the CRUK RadNet Manchester radiation Research Unit and our powerful Radiotherapy Related Research group in Manchester. You can read more about the award in my blog on the award.

Manchester Cancer Research Centre | MCRC Director’s Update – July 2021

Paterson Development

July also saw the exciting progression of the Paterson Redevelopment Project as the first panels of glass have now been installed on the exterior of the building.

Over the course of the next few months, anyone on site at the Oglesby Cancer Research Building or The Christie will continue to witness the transformation of this new facility as further custom-built panels are added to the exterior of the building.

We’ll have more updates to share from the building in the coming months, as further building milestones are met. The programme team are also hard at work as they shift their focus from the design phase and on to operational readiness in anticipation of construction completion in December 2022

If anyone is interested in how the building is progressing, you can now view a live still from a webcam situated on the OCRB that refreshes every 15 minutes.

Glass panels being installed at the Paterson Redevelopment Project in Withington


In other news

  • We had an incredible lecture from Professor Shana Kelley from the University of Toronto on “Rare Cell Profiling Platforms for Oncology: Therapeutic Discovery and Patient Monitoring”. If anyone missed the seminar, please contact and a recording can be made available to view on demand.
  • There’s a little over one week now until the ACED Summer School focusing on how we can deliver Precision Early Detection for All (9th-12th August 16:00 – 19:00 BST). I’d encourage any early detection researcher to sign up to the incredible programme. Further details of the Summer School can be found on the Eventbrite page.
  • Congratulations to the CRUK Manchester Institute team for an exciting and engaging virtual Royal Society Summer Showcase exhibit. You can find some of the virtual Lightening Lectures and interactive activities on the CRUK MI website.

I’ll close by once again thanking everyone for their continued professionalism, hard work and dedication during this unprecedented time. As the COVID-19 restrictions continue to change and we look to the future of hybrid working and the return to normal access to our laboratory space, it is important to still take the time to look after yourself and others.

I wish you an enjoyable summer.


* Image of the Paterson glass installation credit: Christian Smith

Paterson Redevelopment Project

We have a unique opportunity to create one of the top cancer research centres in the world, right in the heart of Manchester. This new facility will help to transform patient outcomes through integrated advances in the prevention, early detection and treatment of cancer.


Navigate back to view more news from the MCRC.