Network to transform UK into global hub of research

The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, along with its academic partner The Institute of Cancer Research, London, will play a key role in pioneering the next generation of radiotherapy treatment.

04 November 2019

Joining six other centres of excellence across the UK, the new CRUK ‘RadNet’ network will transform the UK into a global hub of research. 

The network aims to improve cancer survival by optimising and personalising radiotherapy. Each centre will spearhead the development of new techniques for delivering treatment and investigate new radiotherapy-drug combinations, including immunotherapies.

Researchers will also focus on reducing the long-term side effects associated with this treatment, improving patients’ quality of life during and after treatment. 

Researchers from The Royal Marsden and ICR will focus on research to: understand how cancer cells respond to radiotherapy at a molecular level; further our knowledge on how the immune system affects cancers response to radiotherapy; develop and test new drug-radiotherapy combinations, including immunotherapies. 

Radiotherapy is curative for over 40 per cent of patients, with over 130,000 people receiving treatment every year on the NHS. The Royal Marsden’s Radiotherapy department is one of the largest in the UK – treating up to 5,000 patients and delivering more than 75,000 treatments each year. 

Recently the hospital treated the first patient in the UK on the revolutionary new MR Linac, which tracks tumours in real-time for more accurate radiotherapy treatments. A world-leader in clinical research The Royal Marsden and ICR have been actively developing the technology for several years. The MR Linac was funded by a £10million grant from the Medical Research Council and supported by The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity

Other centres in RadNet include: the Universities of Cambridge, Glasgow, Leeds, Manchester and Oxford, and the Cancer Research UK City of London Centre.

Researchers hope RadNet will be a beacon, attracting world leading researchers from across the globe and promoting collaboration between diverse scientific fields. The network will also invest in training the next generation of radiotherapy researchers to ensure the UK’s radiotherapy research community continues to thrive.  

RadNet has been funded by a £56 million investment by Cancer Research UK.