UCL to pioneer next-generation radiotherapy research

UCL, UCLH and other London partners will receive a 14 million investment from Cancer Research UK (CRUK) to develop techniques to improve radiotherapy.

Radiotherapy is a key component of cancer medicine, used as part of treatment for four in 10 cancer patients. The CRUK investment creates "RadNet", a network of seven centres of excellence across the UK. Together the centres will work to improve cancer survival by optimising and personalising radiotherapy.

As part of a 56 million CRUK investment announced today, the CRUK City of London Centre, led by Professor Tariq Enver (UCL Cancer Institute), has been awarded 14 million. The partnership includes UCL and UCLH, Queen Mary University of London, King’s College London and the Francis Crick Institute.

The centre will focus on:

  • the mechanisms of radiation resistance, including cancer evolution and cancer stem cells.
  • how the tumour microenvironment and immune system affect the response to radiotherapy.
  • advanced radiotherapy techniques, such as proton beam therapy and stereotactic radiotherapy, which uses multiple beams of radiation that converge on the tumour.
  • personalising radiotherapy using artificial intelligence and improved tumour imaging.
  • radiotherapy for children and young people’s cancers.

Professor Enver said: "I am thrilled that CRUK are investing in our radiotherapy research at UCLH and UCL through the 14 million received by the CRUK City of London Centre. This will help in our aim to build a community of researchers and clinicians who together find new ways to improve cancer treatment for our patients."

Dr Crispin Hiley (UCL Cancer Institute) said: "I’m delighted UCL and UCLH will be a recipient of this CRUK award, which will enable us to accelerate efforts to improve the effectiveness of radiotherapy in numerous ways - including how to treat patients whose cancer is resistant to radiation."

Dr Yen Ching Chang, UCLH’s proton beam therapy clinical lead, said: "Having this investment in radiotherapy research at UCLH means that from the moment our new proton beam therapy centre opens we will be working to optimise the use of this new technology."

Other centres of excellence receiving funds from CRUK are the Universities of Cambridge, Glasgow, Leeds, Manchester, Oxford and the Institute of Cancer Research in partnership with the Royal Marsden Hospital, London.


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