The CRUK and EPSRC Cancer Imaging Centre in Cambridge and Manchester is a new initiative that will combine expertise in the two Universities to develop non-invasive imaging techniques to improve the diagnosis, monitoring and treatment of patients with cancer.
The Centre is a collaborative organisation, with its researchers and clinicians working in departments and institutes across the Universities of Cambridge and Manchester.
There is an urgent need for the development of non-invasive imaging techniques that provide early disease detection, that give prognostic information and that can detect early treatment response in order to guide therapy in individual patients.
The CRUK and EPSRC Cancer Imaging Centre in Cambridge and Manchester will combine the acknowledged strengths of Cambridge in novel imaging, cancer cell biology, disease models and cancer genomics with the strengths of Manchester in functional MRI acquisition and analysis, radiobiology and cancer therapeutics. We will use this complementary expertise to speed progress to benefit patients with lung, brain, oesophageal and breast cancers.
The centre will combine emerging imaging technologies (hyperpolarised MRI, photoacoustic imaging, NIR fluorescence endoscopy, oxygen-enhanced MRI) with novel chemical and biochemical approaches and rapidly translate these new agents and technologies from laboratory to clinic.
This will include:
- fluorescence endoscopy and bronchoscopy with targeted imaging agents to detect early stage lesions in the oesophagus and lung
- a targeted radiolabelled imaging agent for detecting tumour cell death
- methods for detecting cell death by measuring tumour microstructure using diffusion-weighted MRI
- hyperpolarised [13C]glucose as a new agent for detecting treatment response
- novel radionuclide imaging probes for detecting radiation damage and inflammatory response post-therapy
We will also develop improved reconstruction techniques for dynamic PET images and correlate multi-modality tumour image features with genomic analysis of corresponding biopsies, thus evaluating non-invasive clinical imaging as a tool for monitoring the development of tumour heterogeneity before and after treatment. We will undertake clinical translation of oxygen-enhanced MRI and photoacoustic imaging as novel methods for assessing tumour hypoxia and the preclinical development of a targeted photoacoustic imaging agent for detecting cell death.
Following robust demonstration of proof-of-concept in preclinical in vivo models, we will perform clinical studies where imaging biomarker assay validation is paramount. Investigator-led clinical trials will exploit our established links with pharmaceutical companies, and will examine how imaging biomarkers guide therapy and inform on clinical outcomes.
We will participate in multimodality biomarker trials where imaging, circulating and tissue biomarkers are integrated for a more comprehensive view of tumour biology and therapeutic responses.