This theme aims to improve cancer outcomes by diagnosing cancers earlier and improving treatments once a diagnosis is made.
Why this Research is Needed
Over 350,000 people are diagnosed with cancer annually in the UK, almost half with incurable, late-stage disease. Cancer is one of the UK’s leading causes of death and our cancer survival rates remain lower than many European countries. Our theme will improve cancer outcomes through patient-focused research, with an emphasis on the most common cancers in north west London: breast, urological (especially prostate and bladder), gastrointestinal (including liver and pancreas), haematological and gynaecological.
Our specific aims are to:
- Improve patient pathways through studies that will allow early diagnosis of cancer, including studies of digital tools, including artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms.
- Introduce novel technologies and treatments that expand our longstanding convergence-science approach to enhance precision-medicine in cancer.
Detailed objectives can be downloaded here
Upcoming /Ongoing Projects within the Theme
Early diagnosis: Our innovative use of information collected on high street retailers’ loyalty cards is reducing delays in ovarian cancer diagnosis by identifying changes in purchasing behaviour in the months prior to diagnosis. We will work with a wide range of high street retailers and utilise our links with Google Health/Deep Mind as well as Imperial’s AI/machine-learning expertise to develop pipelines that generate early warnings for cardholders to seek medical advice.
Precision management: We will leverage the pioneering ATLANTA trial to improve therapy for advanced prostate cancer, comparing novel localised treatments (focused high-energy ultrasound, robotic surgery, stereotactic ablative radiotherapy) with current standards of care.
Evolution and adaptation: Our application of circulating biomarkers, including personalised circulating tumour (ct) DNA sequencing, allows early detection of therapy resistance in breast and ovarian cancers. We will develop clinical trials to evaluate therapy change using ctDNA analysis in ovarian, breast and colorectal cancers.
Following an open call in the summer of 2023 the following pilot projects were funded from the Theme:
- Investigating Ways to Increase Uptake of Lung Cancer Screening in West London – Dr Gaby Judah
- Vascular Pathways of Spread and the Host Immune Environment in Rectal Cancer – Dr Gina Brown and Michelle Fong
- Augmented Therapies for Oesophageal Cancer with iSlice – Dr Stefan Antonowicz
- Contrast-Enhanced Imaging & Chemical Sensing for Precision Breast Conserving Surgery – Dr Naomi Laskar
Patient and Public Involvement, Engagement and Participation
Patients treated at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust are ethnically diverse, and up to 40% do not speak English as their first language. We seek to ensure that our research reflects this diversity by engaging with specific groups within our communities. We instigated a survey to capture the primary concerns of our population and have established a Patient and Public Involvement, Engagement and Participation (PPIEP) panel. We have representatives on our theme management group to appraise our overall research approach and we have specific PPIEP involvement in each project. We will hold regular talks and events to build relationships between our researchers and the community.
Our Community Partners
In accordance with the Imperial BRC’s PPIEP Strategy , our theme has recruited a group of Community Partners to act as critical friends to our theme and share their valuable lived experience with our researchers and health professionals to help improve the relevance and quality of our research for the benefit of our North West London population.
Professor Amanda CrossProfessor in Cancer Epidemiology - Co-Theme Lead
Professor Iain McNeishProfessor of Oncology and Head of Division of Cancer - Co-Theme Lead
Dr Alicia HeathLecturer in Cancer Epidemiology - Theme Committee Member
Dr David PinatoClinical Senior Lecturer in Medical Oncology
Dr Laura KennyClinical Senior Lecturer in Medical Oncology - Theme Committee Member
Kelly GleasonCRUK Lead Nurse/Nurse Consultant
Mr Daniel LeffReader in Breast Surgery - Theme Committee Member
Prof Christina FotopoulouConsultant gynaecological oncologist
Prof Maria KyrgiouClinical Professor of Gynaecological Oncology
Prof Mary WellsProfessor and Lead for Nursing and Midwifery - Theme Committee Member
Professor Anastasios KaradimitrisProfessor of Haematology - Theme Committee Member
Professor Andrea RockallConsultant Radiologist
Professor Charlotte BevanProfessor of Cancer Biology
Professor Cristina Lo CelsoProf Stem Cell Biology
Professor Eric AboagyeProfessor
Professor Gina BrownProfessor of Gastrointestinal Cancer Imaging
Professor Guido FranzosoChair in Inflammation and Signal Transduction
Professor Sadaf Ghaem-MaghamiProfessor of Gynaecological Oncology