MCRC Director’s Update – October 2023

Professor Robert Bristow in his office in the OCRB

October has been the month of welcome events and conferences including the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) Congress, the Early Detection Conference, and ASTRO 2023.


Postgraduate Welcome Event and CRUK MI Student Showcase

Firstly, a huge welcome to our most recent cohort of non-clinical and clinical postgraduate researchers from across the Manchester partnership. It is fantastic to welcome these trainees to Manchester where for the next three-four years you will perform fantastic science, meet incredible researcher and colleagues. I hope these attributes will  build on the passion and commitment towards our innovative cancer research.

I was fortunate enough to meet a handful of the non-clinical, clinical research training fellows, Christie fellows and MB-PhD students at our PGR Welcome Event on the 20th October. We will be eager to discover and discuss your scientific discoveries at future postgraduate research events led by our Training and Education team, such as our upcoming PGR Showcase.

Finally, earlier this month, the CRUK Manchester Institute held its annual student showcase with great success ; the first since moving back to the Paterson Building.

PGR Welcome Event group photo 2023 showing the newest cohort of MCRC, Christie Fellows and Division of Cancer Sciences students.


ECMC Showcase

On Friday 29th September, over 100 delegates from industry, academia, and the NHS joined the team in Manchester to hear an update on the on-going work within Manchester Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC).  The team were delighted to welcome Prof. Silvia Marsoni from IFOM, as keynote speaker. Silvia’s fantastic presentation gave an insight into her research in precision medicine with a focus on colorectal cancer.

Dr Natalie Cook welcomed delegates who heard from Manchester leads describing work across the key themes within the ECMC, including Precision Medicine, Digital Innovation, Advanced Cell Therapies and Equity of Access. Professor Caroline Dive closed the event, giving an update on the CRUK Cancer Biomarker Centre.

The event demonstrated the breadth of on-going research and the collaborations which are fundamental to the success of the centre. 18 posters were also presented at the event further showcasing the work of our upcoming researchers.


ESMO Congress and MCRC-Christie Networking Event

Following the success of the joint MCRC-Christie School of Oncology networking event at ESTRO 2023 in late May, we were keen to bring the event to different conferences across the world. This month, we hosted our second networking event at ESMO in Madrid. As with ESTRO, this event was an opportunity to meet colleagues and alumni in a relaxed and sophisticated rooftop setting. Preliminary feedback on the event has been very positive and we are now looking at future conferences to run similar academic networking events.

The wider ESMO Congress was equally impressive with a great showing of Manchester research. This included Dr Natalie Cook launching the World CUP Alliance; Professor Noel Clarke presenting on the results of the RADICALS radiotherapy randomised controlled trial as well as Drs Omar El-Taji and Craig Jones from the GU team presenting posters on work covering the STAMPEDE prostate cancer trial; Prof. Claus Jorgensen presenting new directions for pancreatic cancer research.

Rachel Chown at the ESMO Networking event
Colin Lindsay at the ESMO Networking event

Early Detection Conference

Members of the Manchester ACED team and I also attended the Early Detection Conference, this year taking place in London. I had the privilege of joining the other Centre Directors for our ACED Town Hall to discuss the future direction of early detection research as our ACED centres enter renewal next year.

Across the wider conference it was great to see Emmanouela Mitta, ACED PhD student with Professor Sarah Cartmell take the centre stage and discuss her PhD research on the development of 3D in vitro models for cancer progression. In addition, Prof. Caroline Dive joined a panel discussing future imaging, biomarker and data strategies to improve early detection. Finally, Dr Stuart Wright joined the panel to discuss the health economics of early detection.

We look forward now to future events in prevention and early detection, including the early detection conference next year and the newly announced CRUK Prevention Conference in July 2024.


In other developments from the MCRC

  • ASTRO 2023, Prof. Peter Hoskin presented results from the EORTC consensus on re-irradiation, with Prof. Marcel van Herk and Dr Priya Maitre both presenting posters. It is great to see Manchester research at such prestigious international conferences.
  • Congratulations to Dr Simona Valletta who has been awarded a John Goldman Fellowship from Leukaemia UK. This Fellowship will support Simona’s research investigating the microenvironment of acute myeloid leukaemia.
  • Our MCRC Springboard Award in commercialisation and innovation was highly successful and sought after with multiple projects being submitted from across the MCRC partnership. Our team is now hard at work deciding which projects will be funded and we aim to inform successful projects before the end of the year.
  • Applications have now opened for our CRUK-funded PhD projects: we have eight non-clinical and seven clinical research training fellowship projects currently open to application. More information can be found on the CRUK Manchester Centre website.
  • As visitors to the OCRB and Paterson Buildings will have seen, the MCRC and The Christie have both launched new videos showcasing the depth and breadth of our research portfolio. You can view them both below.


Next month, we’re looking forward to hosting members of our International Advisory Boards and I’m delighted to be joined for two Director’s Lectures:


  • Professor Pat LoRusso will be speaking on the 3rd November on “The Future of Developmental Therapeutics in Oncology”. Registration is not needed, just turn up to the OCRB Lecture Theatre at 15.30 for Pat’s lecture.
  • Professor Richard Kennedy will be speaking on the 17th November on “Lessons learned from 20 years of Biomarker Development”. To attend this seminar, please complete this MS Form to register your interest.


I hope everyone has a fantastic November and I look forward to updating you next month.



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