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Division of Radiotherapy and Imaging

The Division of Radiotherapy and Imaging is investigating new imaging methods to diagnose cancer, and ways in which advances in technology and molecular biology can improve radiation treatment. It is also increasingly concerned with the use of imaging to evaluate the response to treatment in vivo, through techniques measuring aspects of tumour biology.

Professor Kevin Harrington (Joe Dunckley for the ICR, 2014)

The division includes the prestigious Cancer Research UK Cancer Imaging Centre, and overlaps with the Joint Department of Physics, which spans The Institute of Cancer Research, London, and The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust.

Researchers in the division are developing methods to more accurately image tumours, making improvements to treatment planning, and implementing and assessing techniques to precisely target beams of radiation. Projects are using 3D imaging and robotics, and include quality assurance to ensure the safety of new techniques in a clinical setting.

The division has long-standing clinical imaging research programmes in computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), together with major projects in ultrasound, nuclear medicine, X-ray detectors and imaging applied to radiotherapy and focused ultrasound therapy.

The ICR’s leading role in the development of intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) and image-guided radiotherapy (IGRT) has helped to change the way that radiotherapy is provided in the UK and worldwide.

Researchers in the division are also interested in developing ways of increasing the effectiveness of radiotherapy by combining it with other treatments – including targeted drugs or viral therapies. A major research focus is the development of multimodality imaging for evaluating response to treatment in vivo. Novel imaging techniques can provide non-invasive assessments of various facets of tumour biology such as tumour angiogenesis, cell proliferation and hypoxia.

The joint appointments of faculty in this division and the divisions of Cancer Biology, Cancer Therapeutics or Clinical Studies ensure scientific and technical developments are rapidly taken through to testing in the clinic.

Heads of Division

Professor Kevin Harrington

Professor Kevin Harrington

Professor of Biological Cancer Therapies

Professor Kevin Harrington is Joint Head of the Division of Radiotherapy and Imaging and studies the use of biologically targeted agents, in combination with treatments such as radiotherapy and chemotherapy, to target cancer cells selectively. He is a specialist in head and neck cancer and in melanoma, and a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of Radiologists.

Professor Christopher Nutting

Professor Christopher Nutting

Consultant Clinical Oncologist at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust

Professor Christopher Nutting works as a Consultant Clinical Oncologist at The Royal Marsden. He was instrumental in the testing and implementation on IMRT in the UK and its adoption as a new standard of care Worldwide. He is Joint Head of the Division of Radiotherapy and Imaging.

Research teams

Breast Cancer Radiotherapy

Team leader: Dr Anna Kirby

The Breast Cancer Radiotherapy Team aims to develop and test new radiotherapy techniques that treat women with breast cancer patients with greater accuracy while minimising side-effects.

Clinical Academic Radiotherapy (Dearnaley)

Team leader: Professor David Dearnaley

Professor David Dearnaley’s Clinical Academic Radiotherapy Team are researching ways to better target a tumour during radiotherapy while avoiding healthy tissue around it.

Clinical Academic Radiotherapy (Huddart)

Team leader: Professor Robert Huddart

Dr Robert Huddart’s team investigates the role of targeted radiotherapy in urological cancers such as muscle invasive bladder cancer and testicular cancer.

Clinical Academic Radiotherapy (Yarnold)

Team leader: Professor John Yarnold

Professor John Yarnold’s Clinical Academic Radiotherapy Team is investigating how the frequency and intensity of radiotherapy doses can be optimised to treat breast cancer patients.

Functional Imaging

Team leader: Dr Christina Messiou

Dr Christina Messiou's team are advancing innovative imaging techniques for patient benefit.

Gastrointestinal Clinical Oncology

Team leader: Dr Diana Tait

Dr Diana Tait’s team delivers and assesses advanced radiotherapy techniques for gastrointestinal cancers.

Imaging for Radiotherapy Adaptation

Team leader: Dr Emma Harris

Dr Emma Harris’ Imaging for Radiotherapy Adaptation Team is investigating ways to make radiotherapy more patient-specific.

Magnetic Resonance

Team leaders: Professor Nandita deSouza
Professor Martin Leach
Dr Simon Robinson

Professor Martin Leach, Professor Nandita de Souza and Dr Simon Robinson head up the Magnetic Resonance Team which develops and tests new probes, instrumentation and techniques to better plan and assess cancer treatment.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging in Radiotherapy

Team leader: Dr Andreas Wetscherek

Dr Andreas Wetscherek's team are developing new MRI techniques for radiotherapy with particular application to the UK's first MR-Linac machine.

Multimodality Molecular Imaging

Team leader: Dr Dimitra Darambara

Dr Dimitra Darambara is developing and implementing novel molecular imaging technologies and techniques for the detection and characterisation of cancer and its response to treatment. Dr Darambara is a detector physicist who started her career at CERN building a calorimeter for quark-gluon plasma and finally moved to medical physics to translate basic science to routine clinical practice.

Oncogenetics

Team leader: Professor Rosalind Eeles

Professor Rosalind Eeles’ Oncogenetics Team aims to translate laboratory findings about genetic risk factors for cancer, particularly prostate cancer, into the clinic.

PET Radiochemistry

Team leader: Dr Graham Smith

Dr Graham Smith’s PET Radiochemistry Team develops molecular probes to quantitatively image therapeutic response during drug development and in clinical trials.

Preclinical Molecular Imaging

Team leader: Dr Gabriela Kramer-Marek

Dr Gabriela Kramer-Marek’s Preclinical Molecular Imaging Team uses cutting-edge biomedical imaging techniques to gain information about the way particular genes drive cancer progression.

Radioisotope Physics

Team leader: Dr Glenn Flux

Dr Glenn Flux and his team are developing methods to obtain quantitative information from nuclear medicine imaging and applying these to improve treatments with radiotherapeutics.

Radiotherapy Physics Modelling

Team leader: Professor Uwe Oelfke

Professor Uwe Oelfke’s Radiotherapy Physics Modelling Team is researching ways of using modern hardware to improve the delivery of targeted radiotherapy.

Radiotherapy Treatment Planning

Team leader: Dr James Bedford

Dr. James Bedford's team works on novel methods for targeting tumours with external beam radiation. The necessary imaging technology, calculation of dose distributions and optimisation of individualised treatment plans are developed. Techniques such as intensity-modulated radiation therapy, volumetric modulated arc therapy and image-guided radiotherapy are continually being improved.

Sarcoma and Melanoma Surgery

Team leader: Andrew Hayes

Mr Andrew Hayes's team consists of surgical oncologists who undertake clinical and translational research relating to surgery for these rare tumours. They have particular research interests in regional chemotherapy administered by isolated limb perfusion, retroperitoneal sarcoma surgery and robotic surgery for intra-abdominal sarcoma/melanoma.

Stereotactic and Precision Radiotherapy

Team leader: Dr Nicholas van As

The Stereotactic and Precision Radiotherapy Team is developing techniques and trials aimed at improving outcomes for cancer patients and reducing treatment-related toxicities, in both radical and palliative radiotherapy.

Targeted Therapy

Team leader: Professor Kevin Harrington

Professor Harrington’s Targeted Therapy Team aims to develop new cancer therapies that selectively target cancer cells. This is accomplished by assessing combinations of viral, drug and immune therapies with radiation as a means of boosting both direct cytotoxic and indirect immune-related effects against cancers.

Therapeutic Ultrasound

Team leader: Professor Gail ter Haar

Professor Gail ter Haar’s Therapeutic Ultrasound Team is undertaking research designed to improve our understanding of high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) for the treatment of cancers of the liver and kidney.

Translational Immunotherapy

Team leader: Professor Alan Melcher

Professor Alan Melcher's team is looking at ways to activate the immune system to attack cancer using therapeutic viruses. These agents are already approved for clinical use and offer major potential benefits to further improve the promising field of immunotherapy.

Translational Sarcoma, Melanoma and Rare Tumour Surgery

Team leader: Myles Smith

Mr Myles Smith's team aims to translate basic science innovations generated at the ICR to advance the surgical treatment of cancer – for example, evaluating molecular markers to aid the definition of cancer at the time of surgery.

Translational Therapeutic Radiography

Team leader: Dr Helen McNair

Translational therapeutic radiography investigates aspects of technology and patient care in radiotherapy.

Ultrasound and Optical Imaging

Team leader: Professor Jeffrey Bamber

Dr Jeffrey Bamber’s Ultrasound and Optical Imaging Team develops new ways of using ultrasound imaging to detect various cancers, including breast, prostate and skin cancer.

Uro-oncology Clinical Trials

Team leader: Dr Alison Tree

Dr Alison Tree’s team develops new precise radiotherapy techniques using simulations and real patient data, as well as with innovative clinical trials.