Our Research

The CRUK Lung Cancer Centre of Excellence at Manchester and UCL brings together world class basic, translational, clinical and imaging research, with the overall vision of improving outcomes for lung cancer patients.

Our work is focused on eight key research themes:

  • Basic Science – Groups across the Centre carry out studies into all aspects of cell biology, leading to a better understanding of the processes that drive the formation, growth and progression of lung cancer.
  • Immunology – Using mouse models and human samples, researchers explore the interplay between the immune system and cancer in vivo.
  • Drug Discovery – The CRUK Drug Discovery Unit integrates medicinal, computational and synthetic chemistry with in vitro and cellular biology to investigate novel drug discovery targets, in an attempt to provide new chemical entities for the treatment of lung cancer.
  • Early Detection and Pre-Invasive Disease – Scientists at the Centre lead various trials looking at ways to better detect, predict and diagnose lung cancer.
  • Tumour Evolution and Heterogeneity – Intra-tumour heterogeneity is emerging as a key theme in lung cancer and scientists investigate how this heterogeneity limits tumour response to targeted therapies. Groups are also carrying out longitudinal tumour studies to explore evolution of the lung cancer genome, supported by bioinformatics.
  • Biomarkers – The Centre has an active program to develop and validate prognostic, predictive and pharmacodynamic biomarkers that can contribute to patient management.
  • Clinical Trials – Clinical Trials Units are conducting interventional studies as well as randomised trials into early screening/detection and biomarker-driven trials.
  • Radiation Biology/Radiotherapy Trials – We are home to one of the largest radiotherapy practices in the world, delivering clinical trials in personalised doses, advanced techniques and combination therapies. The Centre will soon be host to the UK’s only two Proton Beam Therapy Centres. 

Each of the Centre’s research themes has joint leads based at Manchester and UCL, who are together responsible for developing and implementing the overall research strategy. These themes are designed to be both interacting and complementary and to cover the full spectrum of cancer research, linking pioneering laboratory studies to the implementation of novel treatments for patients in the clinic – with the overall aim of improving patient outcome and quality of life. 

Increasingly, projects are multidisciplinary, drawing on the skills and expertise of researchers from a range of different disciplines; including pathologists, medical and radiation oncologists, biologists, chemists, physicists, bioinformaticians and engineers – allowing us to expand our research interests into innovative and exciting new areas of lung cancer research.