Rob Bristow appointed as Director of the Manchester Cancer Research Centre

Professor Rob Bristow, one of the world’s leading prostate cancer experts has been appointed by the University of Manchester to lead its cancer research strategy and to be the new Director of the Manchester Cancer Research Centre (MCRC) (University of Manchester, 2017). He will take up his post in August.

Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, President and Vice-Chancellor at the University of Manchester, said “Rob Bristow is joining Manchester at a pivotal time and, as an internationally-renowned clinician-scientist, he combines excellent laboratory research with deep clinical understanding that will significantly benefit patients.

“He will take over from Professor Nic Jones who has led the MCRC from its inception 10 years ago into one of the leading international cancer centres. I’m pleased that Nic will continue to work closely with the University advising on major strategic initiatives and research awards.”

Rob Bristow has led a multi-national consortium to identify genomic signatures that predict the course of progression of prostate cancer and responses to drugs, surgery and radiotherapy. This work has the potential to dramatically advance personalised medicine approaches to treating aggressive prostate cancer.

He said “I’m looking forward to working with the outstanding network of scientific and clinical researchers in Greater Manchester and together we will define personalised cancer medicine for patients worldwide. This will be achieved by energetically driving Manchester-based basic and translational cancer research into our clinics.

“Manchester is a place to do great things. It has a proven commitment to cancer research, as well as a top-tier, cancer-specific hospital in The Christie that treats more patients than any other centre in the UK or Europe. Importantly, Manchester is renowned for its ‘Team Science’ approach and has extensive infrastructure support with access to state-of-the-art technologies and expertise. I can’t wait to be part of this extraordinary Manchester team.”

Manchester is one of only two designated Major Centres supported by Cancer Research UK (CRUK) with more than £40m awarded over the next five years, and cancer research is a prominent theme in the recent £28m award of a Biomedical Research Centre. Sir Harpal Kumar, Chief Executive of CRUK, said “We’re delighted that Professor Bristow will be moving to Manchester to lead our world-class team at the Manchester Cancer Research Centre.

“Professor Bristow is globally renowned for his ground-breaking work outlining how genomic faults in prostate cancer can predict treatment response. Patients treated at The Christie Hospital will greatly benefit from this expertise. As a clinician-scientist Professor Bristow has been at the forefront of developments in radiotherapy and medical biophysics. I am confident that his leadership and personal scientific excellence will drive Manchester further forward as a powerhouse in cancer research, not just in the North West of England but across the world.”

Rob Bristow will also take up the post of Senior Group Leader in the CRUK Manchester Institute. Its director, Professor Richard Marais, said “I’m delighted that Rob will be joining the faculty of the Institute and look forward to working with him to develop our prostate cancer and other Precision Medicine programmes to improve patient care.”

Rob Bristow will also have an impact on clinical care at the Christie NHS Foundation Trust, giving patients direct access to his expertise. Its Chief Executive, Roger Spencer, leads for Manchester in the National Cancer Vanguard developing and testing new models of care. He said “Rob Bristow is an outstanding consultant with a reputation for world-class research. At The Christie we continue to attract people of the highest calibre to work alongside our team of eminent specialists. Patients will now have access to treatment by one of the world’s leading prostate cancer experts.”

Dr Richard Preece, chair of the Greater Manchester Cancer Board and Executive Lead for Quality for the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, said “Our region-wide cancer plan has a particular focus on the importance of research in improving our knowledge of cancer and how this leads to outstanding care for patients. Greater Manchester is already well known as a centre for quality cancer research and exceptional clinical and scientific knowledge, and the appointment of a distinguished academic such as Rob Bristow is excellent news.”

Rob Bristow is currently a Clinician-Scientist and Professor within the Departments of Radiation Oncology and Medical Biophysics at the University of Toronto. He is a Senior Scientist at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre where he is treats genitourinary cancers. His primary research interests are in tumour hypoxia, DNA damage signalling and DNA repair in tumours, and the genomics of prostate cancer progression and cancer treatment response. He is particularly interested in novel clinical trials that intensify cancer therapy to prostate cancer patients whose tumours harbour aggressive genetic changes and hypoxic sub-regions.

He is the lead Principal Investigator for the Canadian component of the International Cancer Genome Consortium (ICGC) whole genome prostate cancer sequencing project (CPC-GENE) and serves on a number of scientific advisory boards and committees for Prostate Cancer Canada, the Prostate Cancer Foundation (USA), the Canadian Cancer Society Research Institute, the MOVEMBER Foundation, the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), and the American Society for Therapeutic Radiation Oncology (ASTRO).

He is Editor of the 5th Edition Basic Science of Oncology and has more than two hundred and fifty published papers and book chapters. He is twice a Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI) awardee. He was made a Canadian Cancer Society Research Scientist in 2004 and is an Honorary Fellow of the European Society for Radiotherapy and Oncology (ESTRO).

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