Dr Christoph Oing

Christie International Fellow Alumnus

The Christie Oak Road

Meet Christoph, he completed his fellowship from the Christie School of Oncology and is currently leading the Medical Oncology Sarcoma Unit at the University Medical Centre Hamburg-Eppendorf in Germany. This article first appeared in The Christie School of Oncology Newsletter Issue One originally published in Winter 2021, read the full issue on our website.

Where were you based before joining The Christie?

Before joining The Christie and the MCRC, I had just obtained my specialist degree in Internal Medicine, Haematology and Medical Oncology at the University Medical Centre Hamburg-Eppendorf, Germany. My clinical and research focus until then was DNA repair and treatment resistance in testicular cancer and prostate cancer.


What attracted you to The Christie?

Principally, the outstanding prostate cancer expertise of Prof. Robert Bristow, Director of the MCRC, and Senior Group Leader at the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute (CRUK MI), and Prof. Silke Gillessen, at the time Chair in Genitourinary Oncology Systemic Therapy Research at The University of Manchester and The Christie, attracted me to explore research fellowship options in Manchester. Together we developed the outline for a competitive interventional translational research project to explore the role of tissue hypoxia and genomic instability in the development of bone metastases in prostate. To undertake my fellowship, I was awarded a competitive ESMO translational research fellowship.

Moreover, the unique structure of The Christie as Europe’s largest single institution for highly multidisciplinary, specialised and centralised cancer care with outstanding opinion leaders in various fields of solid and haematological malignancies caught my attention and strengthened my ambitions to come to Manchester.

Dr Christoph Oing headshot

What did you enjoy most about your fellowship?

There are many things that I found were enjoyable. What I found most helpful and impressive was the quick and candid integration into the multi-professional translational and interdisciplinary clinical research teams at both the MCRC and The Christie, which are embedded into a highly inspiring research environment comprising the MCRC, CRUK MI, The University of Manchester and The Christie. Quickly becoming an integral part of this environment with a close connection to my outstanding supervisors, Prof. Bristow, Prof. Gillessen and Dr Tony Elliott was just amazing and showed me once again how important networking beyond borders and comfort zones was for my personal professional career development. I have just found amazing mentors and to use Prof. Bristow’s words: “Mentorship is life-long”. Thank you so much!

The fellowship clearly influenced my future career planning. I very much enjoyed working in the highly interdisciplinary and multi-professional environment of the different GU research teams, I felt valued and quickly integrated into the teams. I appreciated the centralised care and clinical research orientation at The Christie.

Dr Christoph Oing

What was your biggest achievement while at The Christie?

Together with my fellowship supervisor and mentor Prof. Bristow, I successfully developed a translational study to investigate the role of hypoxia and genomic instability in de novo bone metastatic prostate cancer, the HYPROGEN study. Together with my fellow post-doc Richard Rebello, my supervisor Prof. Bristow and international prostate cancer experts we collated the Nature Reviews Disease Primer article on prostate cancer, which was recently published in 2021.

Moreover, together with my clinical research supervisor, Prof. Gillessen, our exceptional colleagues from the Urology and Histopathology Departments at The Christie (Dr Arie Parnham, Dr Vijay Sangar and Dr Pedro Oliveira), and the MCRC (Dr Mick Brown) I was a co-founder of the newly established Manchester Penile Cancer Research initiative, which has become a highly active group in this rare disease setting.


What are you doing now?

After my return to my home institution, the University Medical Centre Hamburg-Eppendorf in Germany, I took on the lead for the Medical Oncology Sarcoma Unit and got awarded a German Cancer Aid fellowship to build my own lab group to focus on the role of DNA repair alterations in prostate cancer. The fellowship helped me substantially to set this up through a close collaboration with the Manchester team.

With the exceptional support of my fellowship supervisor, I still follow up on research projects on prostate and penile cancers initiated at the MCRC and The Christie and hold an honorary research fellow contract with the University of Manchester.


How did your fellowship support your career plans/professional development?

The fellowship clearly influenced my future career planning. I very much enjoyed working in the highly interdisciplinary and multi-professional environment of the different GU research teams, I felt valued and quickly integrated into the teams. I appreciated the centralised care and clinical research orientation at The Christie.

My fellowship experiences in clinical research and specialised cancer care in the UK together with the appreciation of the work of clinical scientists in general made me apply for a new post offered at the Newcastle University and their Early Phase Clinical Trials Unit. Fortunately, I was offered the post and I will return to the UK at the start of 2022 to start working in Newcastle with the vision to establish a Northern England research collaboration together with the MCRC. I will follow up on research in the field of prostate cancer and DNA repair alterations and have the opportunity to become an expert clinical academic in drug discovery and early phase trials, both which are at the core of innovative oncology research.

I believe this would have not happened without my ESMO fellowship at the MCRC and The Christie.


What advice would you give to other fellows to make the most of their time at The Christie?

Introduce yourself to the amazing teams of clinicians and the clinical research units in your area of expertise and/or interest as well as the extremely supportive team of the MCRC biobank located at The Christie and respective research groups at the CRUK MI and the MCRC. Try to extend your network and I’m sure you will find lots of amazing and enthusiastic clinicians, researchers and various options to join ongoing research and to develop your own ambitious research projects whilst in Manchester. Ensure to establish fruitful collaborations thereafter to further support your professional career as an oncology expert clinician and/or successful cancer researcher.

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The Christie International Fellowships Programme Newsletter - Winter 2021

Discover more about the accomplishments of our clinical fellows in our very first Newsletter