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UCLH and UCL receive major investment to support next-generation radiotherapy research

UCLH and UCL will benefit from a £56 million Cancer Research UK (CRUK) investment in next-generation radiotherapy research, it was announced today.

With 4 in 10 cancer patients receive radiotherapy as part of their treatment, it is a key component of cancer medicine. The CRUK investment creates ‘RadNet’, network of seven centres of excellence across the UK – including one involving UCLH and UCL. Together the centres will work to improve cancer survival by optimising and personalising radiotherapy.

£14 million has been awarded to the CRUK City of London Centre – a partnership between UCL and UCLH, Queen Mary University of London, Kings College London and the Francis Crick Institute which is led by UCL and UCLH’s Prof Tariq Enver.

The City of London Centre will be one of three awarded 'Radiation Research Unit' status within the network.

Key research at our centre of excellence will be done at the UCLH proton beam therapy centre. Here researchers will use AI to personalise radiotherapy, develop techniques to improve radiotherapy for children and young people’s cancers, and optimise proton beam therapy – a specialised form of radiotherapy, which directs the radiation treatment to precisely where it is needed with minimal damage to surrounding tissue. UCLH and UCL researchers will also use clinical data and samples to understand how radiotherapy treatment can be improved in cases where patients are resistant to radiation.

Prof 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 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.”

Dr Crispin Hiley, Radiation Oncology Consultant at UCLH and Associate Professor at the UCL Cancer Institute who will be involved in work funded by the CRUK award, said: “I’m delighted UCLH and UCL 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.”

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.

Read the full CRUK announcement.