Biography and research overview
Dr Matthew Blackledge is conducting a three-year independent research project on medical image analysis of bone metastasis at The Institute of Cancer Research, London.
Dr Blackledge's research seeks to provide clinical imaging methodologies for evaluating and understanding response mechanisms associated with novel therapeutics for bone metastases. Dr Blackledge collaborates with Professor Martin Leach, David Collins and Dr Dow-Mu Koh within the Cancer Research UK Cancer Imaging Centre at the ICR, which provides a unique opportunity to investigate techniques that can be quickly translated for the clinical management of patients in The Royal Marsden.
Bone metastases arising from a range of primary tumour sites have severe consequences for the patient, and although many new treatments are becoming available, there is currently no standard technique for early stage detection of response. Dr Blackledge is hoping to uncover novel imaging methodologies that incorporate whole-body MRI in conjunction with PET/CT and innovative image analysis techniques to provide a biological map of areas of response throughout the body during treatment. These techniques provide a rich data set of quantitative information including tumour volume, tumour cellularity, tumour metabolism and bone status that can indicate regions of response and provide image-guided treatment for patients.
Dr Blackledge is also working on new statistical techniques to quantify and visualise regions of heterogeneous response to treatment. Recent studies have clearly identified differences in the evolution pattern between distinct metastases throughout the body. The genomic differences in these mutated lesions can lead to differential treatment resistance. By using medical imaging techniques such as MRI and PET/CT it is possible to non-invasively probe individual metastases, allowing quantitative evaluation and visualisation of heterogeneous response throughout the body.