Research and Innovation
We believe that research and innovation are crucial to great care. It is part of the ethos of The Christie that everyone – not just clinicians and scientists – should be involved in research in one form or another. Only by achieving this can we be sure to improve outcomes at every level for patients.
We are global pioneers in cancer research. This brochure highlights the range and depth of our research and innovation activity, as well as showcasing the high-quality leadership and expertise we can call on that make us the ideal partner for both UK and international collaborations.
The Christie is one of the largest single-site cancer centre in Europe. As well as housing the largest early-phase oncology clinical trials unit in the UK and one of the largest in Europe, it is also the first UK centre to be officially accredited as a comprehensive cancer centre.
Welcome Christie Research has more than 700 open studies and is the largest centre in the UK for commercial cancer trials. It is a Cancer Research UK Major Centre, part of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Centre, and hosts the oncology NIHR Manchester Clinical Research Facility.
Our research continues to grow: around 14,000 new cancer patients are treated here every year and we are proud of the fact that we offer so many of them the chance to access new therapies by taking part in research studies.
Research encompasses every stage of the patient journey from prevention and early detection, to living with and beyond cancer. Our emphasis is on developing personalised approaches to medicine that target a therapy specific to a patient’s disease. Moreover, the range of our research is truly extensive and covers everything from understanding the molecular and cellular basis of cancer, to the development and testing of novel treatments and improving the patient experience.
Our cancer research expertise at The Christie includes:
- designing and running research studies and trials across all types of cancer
- delivering the highest quality clinical trials
- identifying appropriate research participants and involving them in the right research studies
- providing an excellent service and patient support
Our ambition is to be a world-leading comprehensive centre for translational cancer research. We want to transform the clinical care of our patients by developing and implementing an integrated, personalised medicine strategy.
Our mission is to deliver on three fronts:
- To undertake world leading relevant research in cancer treatment and care
- To be internationally competitive so we can deliver the best treatments and attract the best cancer specialists and researchers to the region
- To improve outcomes for people with cancer locally, nationally and internationally
There is compelling evidence that we are achieving our goals, and last year was one of our strongest to date for patient recruitment to cancer trials. In terms of the NIHR Clinical Research network (CRN) recruitment, Greater Manchester has consistently been in the top 3 regions nationally.
Collaborations and Partnerships
Our ground-breaking research is only possible through active engagement in a number of important partnerships and collaborations as part of Manchester Cancer Research.
We are proud of the close collaborations we have fostered with our neighbouring trusts that have helped to make Manchester an internationally recognised centre of pioneering cancer research. Our partnerships foster the interactive culture that allows us to realise our ambition to be one of the world’s premier cancer centres.
The Manchester Cancer Research Centre (MCRC), which is based on The Christie site, is the embodiment of these partnerships. The MCRC Oglesby Building is a state-of-the-art collaboration between The Christie, The University of Manchester and Cancer Research UK (CRUK Manchester Institute and Centre).
Through the MCRC, Christie Research collaborates in the cancer biobank. The bank collects and stores tissue, blood and urine samples from cancer patients across Greater Manchester. Researchers have access to these samples and can use them in their own projects. Christie Research collaborates in the biobank with Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust and Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
Our research also benefits from the support of the Manchester Academic Health Science Centre (MAHSC), whose Cancer domain is led by The Christie CEO, Roger Spencer.
The Christie also hosts the Greater Manchester Cancer Board. The board brings together cancer providers, commissioners, clinicians, researchers, people affected by cancer and other colleagues to reflect the entire cancer system.
Infrastructure and Investment
Christie Research has access to a unique infrastructure and attracts extensive research expertise and funding.
The Christie benefits from being part of Cancer Research UK’s Major Centre in Manchester, one of only three such centres in the UK, bringing in £39m of funding for a five-year programme that began in 2017.
The trust was also part of a consortium that made a successful ‘One Manchester’ bid in 2016 for £28.5m in National Institute for Health Research funding. The bid saw Manchester granted prestigious NIHR Biomedical Research Centre status after expertise from health and academia came together to demonstrate the ‘connectedness’ of Manchester’s research community. The development drives forward pioneering research in a number of areas, including three cancer themes of prevention and early detection, radiotherapy and precision medicine, and the aim is to accelerate the translation of early-stage research into new diagnostic tests and treatments.
The Christie is home to one of only two high energy NHS proton beam therapy (PBT) centres in the UK. This advanced form of radiotherapy is used to treat complex cancers and those that are difficult to treat in children and adults. The centre has dedicated research facilities and the presence of such advanced technology raises the prospect of exciting developments for Christie Research.
The Christie team have been central to developing the UK service, developing clinical protocols and pathways for NHS England. This expert knowledge and experience is now available to others through The Christie International Proton School. Our multidisciplinary team includes clinical (radiation) oncologists, radiation therapists and non clinical specialists in oncology, dosimetry, radiotherapy physics, and engineering, as well as experts in commissioning, project management, capital and building development and equipment commissioning.
As part of a total £12.5m investment in the four clinical research facility units across Manchester, now working under a single management structure, the NIHR Manchester Clinical Research Facility (CRF) at The Christie has received renewal funding of £4.5m. This award was made to continue the development of specialised early phase experimental research. In the coming years, the focus of this work will be to increase both the quantity and the quality of clinical research in less advantaged and more ethnically diverse communities. In September 2017, the unit invested £3m to expand its capacity to provide more experimental cancer medicine treatment facilities and an improved patient experience.
We are also developing a nationally recognised centre for advanced cellular therapies. Known as iMATCH – the Innovate Manchester Advanced Therapy Centre Hub – this work was awarded nearly £7m in funding to ensure patients benefit from a new generation of advanced cellular therapies.
Manchester is one of only three UK centres to be awarded funding by Innovate UK to coordinate a strategy to scale up advanced therapies for a range of conditions. The Christie hosts the centre and will design and operate larger clinical trials in the area of personalised medicine. The partnership includes The University of Manchester and the CRUK Manchester Institute and Centre; the latter including input from Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (including Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital and Manchester Royal Infirmary) and nine life science-focused businesses.