MCRC Director’s Update June 2024

Professor Robert Bristow in his office in the OCRB

Another hello to all of you at the MCRC! I hope that you are enjoying the start of our summer months, and the spells of good weather that June has had to offer. I am pleased to be updating you on my busy month in this written Director’s Update, alongside other activities from across the MCRC partnership.


In this update I discuss:


  • American Society of Clinical Oncology 2024 annual meeting
  • European Association for Cancer Research annual congress
  • National Biomarker Centre launch
  • The PGR Showcase with special guests Dr Lindsay Cauthen and Professor David Kok


ASCO 2024 


The start of the month saw many Manchester researchers travel to Chicago to attend The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting, which is considered as the largest worldwide congress on Clinical Oncology.  This year’s meeting boasted a strong Manchester presence with our researchers involved in 48 submitted research abstracts.


Specific highlights included the seven poster presentations covering themes including cancer of unknown primary, neuro-endocrine tumours, immunotherapy and lymphoma.


We had the following posters presented with named first/ last authors:


  • Seasonal patterns in immunotherapy outcomes’Dr Oliver Kennedy and Professor Paul Lorigan


  • The clinical utility of plasma cell-free DNA (cfDNA) in NET-02: Randomised, phase II trial of liposomal irinotecan (nal-IRI)/5-fluorouracil (5-FU)/folinic acid or docetaxel as second-line (2L) therapy in patients (pts) with progressive poorly differentiated extra-pulmonary neuroendocrine carcinoma (PD-EP-NEC)’ – Dr Mairead McNamara and Dr Alexandra Clipson


  • CUPCOMP: A multi-site UK trial in carcinoma of unknown primary: A comparison across tissue and liquid biomarkers’Dr Alicia-Marie Conway and Dr Natalie Cook


  • Clinical outcomes of NOTCH pathway-activated adenoid cystic carcinoma with and without co-occurrent TP53 mutation’Dr Syeda Malaika Haider and Dr Robert Metcalf


  • EPCORE FL-2: Phase 3 trial of epcoritamab with rituximab and lenalidomide (R2 ) vs chemoimmunotherapy or R2 in previously untreated follicular lymphoma’Dr Kim M. Linton


  • Ipilimumab and nivolumab plus UV1, an anticancer vaccination against telomerase, in advanced melanoma’Professor Paul Lorigan


Another highlight was from Manchester ECMC’s Dr Natalie Cook, who delivered an education session on ‘The role of patient reported outcomes in early phase clinical trials.’


EACR 2024 


Also during June, Manchester research was represented at the European Association for Cancer Research annual congress in Rotterdam. It was fantastic to see many researchers from the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute, National Biomarker Centre and Division of Cancer Sciences speak about a range of topics.


Professor Caroline Dive delivered the keynote lecture covering the metastasis of small cell lung cancer, Professor Claus Jorgensen delivered a talk focused on the tumour microenvironment while Dr Florent Mouliere discussed cell-free DNA for liquid biopsies. Meanwhile on the clinical realm of research, Dr Amaya Viros discussed melanoma research and Dr Matt Krebs provided case studies on the precision medicine TARGET National and DETERMINE trials currently open in Manchester and other locations across the country.


Alongside these talks there were multiple other posters and papers presented, with all abstracts available, open access on the EACR website. It is fantastic to see Manchester research showcased at the international level continuing to demonstrate our researchers are leaders in fields of clinical and non-clinical research.



National Biomarker Centre launch


I am delighted that Friday 14th June marked the opening of the new Cancer Research UK Biomarker Centre led by Professor Caroline Dive! Thanks to a £2.5 investment from Cancer Research UK, the Centre will help experts:


  • Detect cancer at an earlier stage – when there are usually more treatment options available
  • Provide clues on how aggressive a patient’s tumour is
  • Predict which treatments are likely to work best and monitor responses to personalised treatment


I am excited about the opening of this new centre, the synergies that will be made possible within the new Paterson Building, and the significant milestone in our mission to develop personalised cancer treatments for all our patients. I am looking forward to hearing about the plethora of research outputs that will come from the establishment of this renowned state-of-the-art facility.

The impact biomarkers will have on patients’ care can’t be underestimated. Doctors will be able to get more information, faster, to determine the best treatment plan for each individual. And it will stop some patients from undergoing unnecessary interventions or treatments that could cause pain or discomfort without providing benefit.

Professor Caroline Dive

Director of the National Biomarker Centre

MCRC and Division of Cancer Sciences Post-Graduate Research Showcase


Supporting our efforts to develop the next generation of cancer researchers, on the 3rd and 4th June, the MCRC and Division of Cancer Sciences held the third annual Postgraduate Research Showcase. This event was a great opportunity for our postgraduate researchers to showcase cancer research in an array of different disciplines.


Key themes included:


  • Lung cancer research
  • Colorectal cancer research
  • Advances in early detection
  • Innovative therapies and holistic approaches


The showcase also boasted a career development workshop from Dr Lindsey Cauthen, Baylor College of Medicine in Texas, who provided insight on professional identity and a keynote lecture from Associate Professor David Kok from Peter Mac, Australia.  His talk focused on adapting to the changing landscape of both research and wider world changes.


A huge thank you to the organising committee, with a special thanks to Adesewa Adebisi, Kashmala Carys, Fabianna Tennant, Sevim Gurler.

Manchester Cancer Research Centre - MCRC Director’s Update June 2024

PGR showcase

Professor David Kok, Professor Marianne Aznar and Rachel Chown. (Left – right)

Manchester Cancer Research Centre - MCRC Director’s Update June 2024

PGR showcase

Dr Lindsey Cauthen from the Baylor College of Medicine in Texas and Georgina Binnie-Wright. (Left – right)

Manchester Cancer Research Centre - MCRC Director’s Update June 2024

PGR showcase

Georgina Binnie-Wright, Sevim Gurler, Fabianna Tennant, Adesewa Adebisi, Kashmala Carys and Andrew Gilmore. (Left- right) 

In other developments from the MCRC


  • During June, I also travelled to Toronto to attend the Executive Advisory Board for the Radiation Medicine Programme at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. It is always helpful to review other strategies and assets to reflect upon our own and strengthen international collaborations.


  • At the start of the month, I was part of the American Association of Cancer Research (AACR) 2025 Annual Meeting Programme Committee in Philadelphia; we’ve organised some exciting Plenary and Major symposia which will highlight our Manchester investigators.


I hope everyone has an enjoyable July and I look forward to updating you all next month.



Robert Bristow

Director of the Manchester Cancer Research Centre

Director of the Cancer Research UK Manchester Centre



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