MCRC Director’s Update – June 2022

Professor Robert Bristow in his office in the OCRB



I hope that everyone has had an enjoyable June and has been enjoying the good weather. This month has again provided opportunities for our research to be shown at an international level through ASCO 2022 and at the local level with an ACES event in Manchester.


Before covering some of the major events in Manchester over the past month, I wanted to pass on my condolences to the family and friends of Dame Deborah James, who sadly passed away on the 28th June 2022. Deborah was an inspiration to us all and acted as a great communicator who was committed to educating and empowering the public. While our paths only crossed briefly at the GM Cancer Conference in 2019, I could see the power and impact that their podcast, ‘You Me and The Big C’ had on the lives of patients living with cancer. Her fundraising has already raised over £7 million for research into future treatments for bowel cancer and shows the lasting legacy that she will have on cancer research.


Manchester Showcases at ASCO 2022

At the start of the month, several Manchester clinicians and academics were in Chicago, USA for the 2022 ASCO Annual Meeting, held in person for the first time since 2020. It was incredible to see so much research from Manchester on both the stages for oral presentations and on the many poster boards, presenting the latest updates on clinical trials and new treatments to colleagues across the world.

Congratulations to everyone who had the opportunity to present posters or lead presentations at the conference. Leading discussions at a conference as prestigious as ASCO demonstrates the high calibre of clinical research being explored in Manchester.

Prof. Rob Bristow

Director, Manchester Cancer Research Centre


A special note should be mentioned for Dr Martin McCabe who was invited to give a plenary talk on the main stage of ASCO to update about the results of the paediatric rEECur trial. This phase II/III trial sought to identify the best treatment for Ewing sarcoma in children, by comparing the efficacy of four chemotherapy regimens. It was the first randomised trial to compare different chemotherapies and found that high doses of a drug called ifosfamide provided the greatest survival in children with a rare form of cancer affecting bones and soft tissues.


You can read more about the study and the results in a news piece on the MCRC website.


As well as this plenary, Manchester academics were also invited to speak at multiple other events including:

  • Matthew Krebs updating about the CHRYSALIS study
  • Mairead McNamara updating about the NET-02 multi-centre phase II trial
  • Colin Lindsay delivering an education session on RAS in lung cancer
  • Natalie Cook delivering an education session on implementing ctDNA in clinical practice


Congratulations to everyone who had the opportunity to present posters or lead presentations at the conference. Leading discussions at a conference as prestigious as ASCO demonstrates the high calibre of clinical research being explored in Manchester.


Access 4 LGBTQIA+ Cervical Screening Project

This month, members of the MCRC Team attended a great event organised by the Alternative CErvical Screening (ACES) project team to promote and support accessible cervical screening in the LGBTQIA+ community. It was a superb evening covering some of the barriers to cervical screening experienced by the LGBTQIA+ community and covering ways in which the ACES team are looking to address and overcome said barriers. This event highlighted the efforts of our teams here in Manchester to address health disparity and pioneer equitable healthcare for all.


MCRC Strategic Team Visit Kenya

In early June, Rachel Chown and Dr Sinéad Savage joined Dr Pedro Oliveira and Dr Suzanne Johnson on a strategic visit to Kenya. This visit was the latest step in developing our ongoing mutually collaborative partnership with Kenya and has continued to gather momentum since the first Memorandum of Understanding was signed in 2020.


This latest visit to Kenya was focused on developing the key strategic partnerships with specific individuals and laying the foundations for upcoming mutually beneficial research projects.


Among the many things that the team achieved while out in Kenya was a visit to the counties outside of the capital Nairobi. This proved to be an important endeavour that helped to cement our understanding of how cancer care works in Kenya and how, through open dialogue, challenges can be overcome and opportunities seized. Over the coming months, we’ll be revealing more about our ongoing partnership with Kenya and the mutually beneficial work that we will develop. More can be read in our MCRC Blog featuring a day-by-day breakdown of the recent visit.

RadNet Director's Meeting

Other developments from the MCRC


  • The next seminar in our ‘Let’s Talk About…’ series takes place on the 18th July 2022 12.00-12.45pm and focuses on Work-life balance in research. This features a talk and panel discussion by Dr Rifca Le Dieu, Clinical Reader at Barts Cancer Institute (BCI). Work-life balance is an incredibly important topic and no-more-so following the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. If anyone wishes to attend this seminar, you can register via Eventbrite.


  • I sat on the scientific advisory boards for Institut Gustave Roussy and Institut Curie. These are very valuable as they help to synthesise new collaborations with some of the best cancer centres from across the globe.


  • This month I joined a RadNet Director’s Meeting in London to look at the year ahead for RadNet Manchester. It is exciting to think about the next synergies that we can develop together and identify potential collaborations in biomarker sciences, multi-omics and CRISPR, as well as forging new approaches to equality diversity and inclusivity and patient public involvement and engagement.


I hope that everyone has a wonderful July and enjoys the start of their summer. I look forward to updating you all again next month.




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