There are more than 50,000 new cases of breast cancer diagnosed in the UK each year, including more than 3,000 new cases diagnosed per annum in Greater Manchester. Treatments for breast cancer have advanced considerably over the past 40 years through the introduction of new targeted therapies such as tamoxifen and Herceptin, and better detection and surgery. While many with the disease can be successfully treated, there are still up to a quarter of patients who will eventually die of their disease. Nationally, there are 31 deaths from breast cancer every day, which is more than 11,000 per year.
Breast Cancer Research in Manchester
All basic and translational breast cancer research projects are coordinated by the Manchester Breast Centre (MBC). This Centre was established in 2005 in order to foster collaborative research amongst breast cancer specialists in Manchester, tackling the clinical problems, discovering new approaches and translating findings to the clinic. Over nearly two decades, the Centre has enhanced the quality of its research through a Team Science approach, where researchers in different specialities (basic science, genetics, prevention, screening, surgery, pathology, systemic therapy) collaborate together to address the key questions and translate research into clinical practice. It continues to expand with new members joining the collaborative project of MBC every year.
The MBC is directed by Dr Robert Clarke, Professor of Breast Biology at the University of Manchester and currently consists of 21 Principal Investigators and 16 Associate Members. In addition, there are more than 60 postdoctoral scientists, research assistants and PhD students in the centre and major funders of MBC research include:
- Cancer Research UK (CRUK)
- The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)
- Medical Research Council (MRC)
- Breast Cancer Now
- Prevent Breast Cancer, amongst others.
The aim of MBC is to carry out discovery research in labs and the clinic, and to translate this into improved breast cancer prevention, early detection and treatment. We facilitate this objective through research collaboration and Team Science across Manchester in the labs of the University of Manchester, Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute and the clinical research centres in The Christie and Manchester University NHS Foundation Trusts.
Across the centre, world-class scientists and clinicians are working together to ensure their research makes as big an impact as possible, as fast as possible. The mission of the MBC to create a world-class centre for basic and translational breast cancer research is making good headway; MBC is one of the largest integrated breast cancer research centres in the world, publishing ~140 peer-reviewed research papers in 2019-2020.
The MBC is vital in advancing breast cancer research and benefits from having a large population in Greater Manchester who can be invited to take part in clinical trials of novel approaches to early detection, prevention and treatment. The collaborative approach of the MBC is already leading to more effective early detection, prevention and treatment of the disease. We continue to research basic biology, imaging, systemic treatment, surgery, and ways to reduce the risk of all types of breast cancer. Some of this research is very specific, focusing on the unique characteristics of a particular form of breast cancer. However, much of our work will be of benefit to everyone with the disease.
Where is our research performed?
Breast cancer researchers work out of the following facilities and buildings in Manchester:
- Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute
- Greater Manchester Network of Clinical Centres across many regional hospitals treating breast cancer
- Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, including the Nightingale Centre at Wythenshawe Hospital
- Oglesby Cancer Research Building
- The Christie Hospital Foundation Trust
- The University of Manchester