Academic Oncologic Pathology

Samples loaded into an NMR instrument

To realise the potential of personalised healthcare for all, we need to be able to routinely analyse samples from patients and analyse the molecular features of tumours, and circulating tumour biomarkers from the beginning of the patient journey. Academic pathology supports the activities of the MCRC Biobank, enabling high-quality basic and translational research along with service transformation.

Pathology in Manchester

The academic pathology team operate at the forefront of molecular pathology. Studying and understanding the molecular basis of tumour samples is essential to advance our understanding of cancer. Molecular pathology can:

  • Help to identify cancer sooner through analysis of unique biomarkers
  • Understand how tumours spread and evolve over time
  • How successful a treatment has been for patients.

Researchers support clinical studies across multiple disease sites, including prostate and lung cancer, as well as supporting activities within other research themes. Within lung cancer, the pathology team have supported the TRACERx consortium and MATRIX trial, as well as collecting and analysing samples for the TARGET study. Alongside this, the team also works closely with the Tumour Immunology and Inflammation Monitoring Laboratory (TIIML), Cancer Research UK Lung Cancer Centre of Excellence, and Manchester Immuno-oncology Network (MION).

Inside the OCRB laboratory

Future Developments

The academic pathology lab, will be integrated within the new Paterson facility, due to open at the end of 2022, to foster the further close collaboration between clinical research and healthcare service provision. Here, the pathology team will benefit from the collaborations developed between clinicians, researchers and the resources of the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute Cancer Biomarkers Centre, The Christie, and the MCRC Biobank.


The pathology team are also planning on using the facilities to further interrogate tumour evolution, heterogeneity and explore further “unknown” territories such as tumour metastasis. One way of doing this is by establishing a Rapid Autopsy Tissue Procurement Unit in Manchester that will allow the rapid procurement of tissue post-mortem that can be delivered to researchers and enable us to tackle these research unknowns.


In addition, the team is also looking at how new developments in genomics can enable ‘Digital Genomics’ where a genomic and tumour samples are linked to samples collected in the MCRC Biobank.

MCRC Biobank

Discover more about the MCRC Biobank, which collects, processes and stores human tissue samples used in research activities.

Research Themes

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Disease Sites

The MCRC supports research activities across a range of disease sites.

Research in Manchester

Find out how cancer 'Team Science' is enabling the creation of impactful science, why engaging and involving patients and members of the public in our research activities is core to our success, the research heritage our scientists are building upon, and finally specific examples of research successes.

Cancer Biomarkers and Liquid Biopsies

Biomarkers are an essential diagnostic aid in cancer sciences. They help researchers and doctors understand what tumour a person might have, or indicate the presence of risk factors that can lead to an individual developing cancer later in life.