Dr Anna Kirby specialises in treating breast cancer with radiotherapy. Her research goal is to develop and test new radiotherapy techniques that can treat women with breast cancer patients with greater accuracy while minimising side-effects. Her focus is on pragmatic clinical research and the immediate translation of research findings into clinical practice.
Dr Kirby graduated with a First Class Honours degree in Medical Sciences from the University of Cambridge in 1995, and undertook her specialist radiotherapy training at The Royal Marsden, and Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospitals. She undertook her MD(Res) degree with Professor John Yarnold at The Institute of Cancer Research, exploring the role of magnetic resonance imaging in improving the accuracy of breast cancer radiotherapy, and evaluating the use of a face-down (or prone) treatment position.
Dr Kirby is now Chief Investigator of the UK HeartSpare Study, a series of three clinical trials which have led heart-sparing breast radiotherapy to become standard of care in many UK hospitals. She has also led research into the use of fluorescent or ‘invisible’ tattoos, which has recently become standard treatment at The Royal Marsden.
Her current research is aimed at optimising techniques for treating women with lymph-node positive breast cancer by combining breath-hold techniques with new technologies including volumetric-modulated arc therapy.
Dr Kirby is Chief Clinical Co-ordinator of the national IMPORT studies which are evaluating partial breast irradiation and simultaneous integrated boost in women at low and high risk of relapse respectively. She is also a member of the Trial Management Group for the FAST-Forward study, evaluating shorter courses of radiotherapy, and a co-investigator and breast radiotherapy lead on the CORE trial, evaluating the role of stereotactic radiotherapy in treating oligometastatic disease – in which a patient’s cancer has spread to a few organs but has not fully spread around their body. She chairs the breast tumour site working group for the international MR Linac consortium.
Dr Kirby is a lecturer on the MSc Oncology course at the ICR, and an examiner for the Royal College of Radiologists. She is also a keen singer, cook and tennis player.