Ricky Sharma, Group Leader at the CRUK/MRC Oxford Institute for Radiation Oncology and the Department of Oncology, has been appointed to the position of Professor and Chair of Radiation Oncology at University College London. He will start in his new post in July.
During his time at the University of Oxford, Ricky has built up a translational group of scientists and clinicians studying DNA damage and repair, drug-radiotherapy interactions and novel forms of imaging for radiotherapy planning. Ricky played an important role in the clinical imaging components of the CRUK/EPSRC Cancer Imaging Centre at Oxford, and with his group has published papers in journals as diverse as Nature Communications, Scientific Reports, The Journal of Clinical Oncology and The Lancet Oncology. They have secured extensive funding from a variety of charities, funding bodies and commercial partners, including Cancer Research UK, the Medical Research Council and the Bowel Disease Research Foundation. Of particular note, Ricky chaired the Liver Multidisciplinary Team at the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust and built up a patient referral base from the whole of the UK for liver-directed therapies. He currently leads two international, multi-centre randomised controlled clinical trials, as well as several early-phase clinical trials of new radiotherapy treatment approaches and novel forms of imaging. He also developed and chaired the Teaching Committee to increase the amount of cancer teaching offered to medical students in Oxford.
When asked about this next career step, Ricky said: “I will be very sad to leave Oxford. It has been a wonderful environment to develop an academic career and to make close friends. I strongly recommend it to anyone thinking of joining the university.”
“In radiotherapy we are now moving to extremely targeted treatments. Protons, stereotactic radiotherapy and molecular radiotherapy all offer exciting new opportunities. What underpins this precision is our ability to image the cancer and to understand the biology of the cancer target.”
“My aim in my new post is to link up UCL’s expertise in cancer biology with UCLH’s precision radiotherapy, so we can develop new treatments with better cure rates and fewer side-effects.”
The UK government has committed £250 million to develop high energy proton beam therapy services at UCLH and Manchester, with the first UCLH patient due to be treated in 2019.