To support the delivery of the Centre’s vision, we have focused our activity in key themes with our investments emphasising support for translational activity. The Centre has 5 key Scientific Themes and 2 Themes of cross-cutting support.
For more information about our Themes, please see below.
To drive innovation and application of fundamental science in the clinic requires a knowledge base from a diverse array of specialisations. This Theme aims to support the understanding of how cancer develops, who is at risk, and how we can target cancers better through novel treatments. This range of questions provides the avenues for investigation which will bring together the fundamental and translational sciences to develop novel interventions to be assessed within the clinical research setting.
The importance of imaging in cancer research and treatment is enormous and has driven many of the major advances in the last decades particularly in radiotherapy and surgery; it continues to play a central role from basic research through preclinical studies and into new trials; particularly those with the ultimate goal of curing more patients with cancer. This Theme aims to capture the full potential of imaging across our broad scientific community and build upon the exceptional work of the CRUK/EPSRC Imaging Centre in Oxford.
Given the increasing complexities of delivering cancer treatment, advances in technology are critical to the success of our Centre strategy. Though technical innovations implicitly intersect with our other Themes, this focus gives us the opportunity to explicitly formalise our interactions with fields and specialties not traditionally linked our interactions with cancer. Thus the aim of this Theme is to bring together engineering, physics, and maths, with surgical and radiation oncology to drive forward technical innovations.
A revolution in molecular diagnostics has been driven by the techniques that have allowed large-scale genomic analysis, characterising both germ line genetic variants that provide substantially increased risk of malignancy, and allowing the descriptions of mutations in individual driver, and tumour suppressor genes, which are responsible for tumour behaviour in an individual. The aim of this theme is to unlock the potential of this revolution for clinical application and invest in elements which will provide us with the ability to improve our understanding of disease mechanisms and should create new paradigms for cancer therapy.
The development of “-omics” technologies is exponentially increasing the amount of data that laboratory based experiments and clinical trials are generating. Oxford’s experts include an experienced team of informaticians, computer scientists and analysts able to apply innovative informatics to increase the effectiveness of translational research, and improve biomedical knowledge access. The aim of this Theme is to ensure Oxford brings together the necessary expertise to support of clinical decision making and evaluation of novel treatments.
Training the next generation of scientists and clinicians is fundamental to all the Centre’s activities. Funding of cancer based DPhil and CRTF projects in combination with formalised ‘Translational Oncology’ training aims to give future researchers the experience they need to convert novel idea’s into proven therapies, quickly and efficiently.
Investment in infrastructure that allows the burgeoning academic community to develop their ideas into clinical application is a key area of investment for the Centre. By funding networking and engagement events as well as infrastructure for disease sites of unmet medical need, we aim to provide Oxfords researchers with all the tools the need to envisage this goal.