CRF research highlights

We are currently supporting about 100 research studies where imaging provides a way of monitoring early response to novel treatments. 

Guiding treatment options for Neuroblastoma with new Positron Emission Tomography/Computerised Tomography (PET/CT) scans

Neuroblastoma is the second most common solid tumour in children. It affects specialised nerve cells and most often occurs in the abdomen. To determine the best possible treatment, doctors carry out many different scanning techniques which can be distressing for young children.

Better scans are urgently needed to enable accurate diagnosis and treatment with a reduced burden to these patients. Our Imaging CRF is supporting research into different radioactive tracers that can be picked up on a PET/CT scan and give accurate 3D images to pinpoint the neuroblastoma with a single scan.

These images can then be used by doctors to assess the tumour growth and response and so guide the most appropriate course of treatment for each patient.

Guiding the use of fertility-sparing surgery in cervical cancer using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

Patients with cervical cancer often present at a young age. For these women, who may still want a family, fertility-sparing surgery may be possible. This involves removing the cervix but leaving the body of the uterus.

For this to be effective, however, it is essential that a substantial amount of normal cervix is present above the tumour. Imaging with millimetre accuracy is needed to ensure this is the case.

Our development and use of an internal probe has enabled us to produce more detailed images that allows us to view the cervix more clearly and determine the most appropriate treatment for patients with cervical cancer seeking to preserve their fertility.

Pioneering new ultrasound treatments

We are researching a new Magnetic Resonance-guided High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (MRgHIFU) technique as a cancer treatment. It works by using a high-intensity beam of ultrasound to cause heat destruction of a target lesion.

MRI is used to both visualise the target and guide the treatment. An industrial collaboration is enabling us to offer this new cancer therapy for the first time in the UK. Positive preliminary results have been achieved in reducing pain from bone metastases (cancer which has spread to the bone from other locations within the body) which significantly impacts on patient quality of life.

MRgHIFU provides an alternative, non-surgical treatment for cancer and can be used when patients are no longer eligible for radiotherapy. We are now planning further research with this technique as a treatment for different cancers.

In November 2015, several press articles were published regarding our clinical trial of high-frequency sound waves as a treatment for pain in patients with bone tumours.

Patient and Public Involvement (PPI)

Fundamental to the work of the Imaging CRF is our PPI strategy. This sets out how we will raise awareness of our imaging research and ensure that it enables outcomes that directly affect patient care. We ensure that our research is focused on the needs of the patient by actively engaging with patients and the public and encouraging their involvement in all stages of the research process.

Patient representatives input directly into the management of our CRF and our PPI strategy. They ensure clarity of patient information and work with us to provide PPI training for both researchers and patients who would like to become involved with the work we do. We also host open days and participate in events with schools and charities.

Trial participation

If you are interested in taking part in a research trial please ask your clinical team about suitable studies. If you are not a Royal Marsden patient, you will need to speak to your GP or oncologist in the first instance and ask about being referred to the hospital.

If you would like to become involved with the work of our CRF, please contact us by email. Alternatively, you can make a research suggestion or apply to join the research review panel.

Our portfolio of research studies and publications can be downloaded below.