Latest News2020-07-28T14:46:34+00:00

Latest News

Launch of the CRUK Open Lab Initiative

Cancer Research UK has recently launched the Open Lab Initiative, a new collaborative research venture, across its network of Centres.  The aim of the Open Lab Initiative is to connect CRUK Centre Network research groups with mutual or complementary interests and expertise, from across the UK, to spark creative discussions, generate novel scientific ideas, and establish new research collaborations during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and beyond.

The Open Lab Initiative removes all the fuss and hassle from finding new research collaborators – proprietary matching algorithms and Open Register make meeting your ideal research partner a breeze!

If you are interested in joining, simply sign up to join the Initiative using the online webform and within 5 working days the team will match you to another research group to hold a joint virtual group meeting or journal club. Alternatively you can add your research group to the Open Register to allow others to match with you directly.

For more information and to sign up, please see:

First Year CoL Centre PhD student wins QMUL 3 Minute Thesis Competition 2020

Congratulations to our first year PhD Clinical Research Training Fellow, Vinaya Srirangam Nadhamuni, who has won QMUL’s 3 minute thesis competition. Vinaya was one of 5 QMUL students shortlisted for the final and was not only the winner of the overall competition but also took the People’s Choice award. The finals took place over zoom, with over 70 people logging in to listen to the talks. She will now go on to represent QMUL in the national semi-finals.

Integrating Cancer Imaging Biomarker Clinical Research Across the UK

UK National Cancer Imaging Translational Accelerator (NCITA) establishes infrastructure for validation and adoption of cancer imaging biomarkers as decision-making tools in clinical trials and NHS practice.

Researchers and medical experts from nine world-leading medical imaging centres across the UK come together to form an integrated infrastructure for standardising and validating cancer imaging biomarkers for clinical use.

The centres include University College London, University of Manchester, University of Oxford, King’s College London, The Institute of Cancer Research, London, and The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, Imperial College London, Cambridge University, Newcastle University and University of Glasgow. This unique UK infrastructure provides clinical researchers across the UK with open access to world-class clinical imaging facilities and expertise, as well a repository data management service, artificial intelligence (AI) tools and ongoing training opportunities.

The NCITA consortium, through engagement with NHS Trusts, pharmaceutical companies, medical imaging and nuclear medicine companies as well as funding bodies and patient groups, aims to develop a robust and sustainable imaging biomarker certification process, to revolutionise the speed and accuracy of cancer diagnosis, tumour classification and patient response to treatment.

Professor Shonit Punwani, Chair of the NCITA governance group said, “The UK is at the forefront of imaging research, with new techniques and technologies often making the news. Yet, the pace of change in clinical practice remains painfully slow. To date we have been missing the infrastructure to deliver these new technologies to the clinic. NCITA fills this gap by defining a translational pipeline with the singular aim of making our discoveries fit for clinical application. This can only be done with a creative and collaborative approach across academia, industry and the NHS.”

The NCITA initiative is funded by Cancer Research UK and will receive up to £10 million over 5 years. The NCITA network is led by Prof Shonit Punwani, Prof James O’Connor, Prof Eric Aboagye, Prof Geoff Higgins, Prof Evis Sala, Prof Dow Mu Koh, Prof Tony Ng, Prof Hing Leung and Prof Ruth Plummer with up to 49 co-investigators supporting the NCITA initiative. NCITA is keen to expand and bring in new academic and industrial partnerships as it develops.

To stay up-to-date with NCITA news, follow us on Twitter and see our website

MRI imaging of patient with biopsy proven prostate cancer.
The left image is an axial T2-weighted MRI image showing a homogenous low signal area in the left anterior para-midline transition zone of the prostate. The right image is a novel VERDICT (Vascular, Extracellular and Restricted Diffusion for Cytometry in Tumours) MRI map at the same level showing a focal area (arrow) with increased intracellular volume fraction, which enables clearer definition of the tumour area.

Image credit: Images from the INNOVATE trial (, courtesy of Professor Shonit Punwani and Dr Saurabh Singh, University College London, Centre for Medical Imaging

Registration open for the 2nd Crick International Cancer Conference 15th-17th September 2019

The second Crick International Cancer Conference will take place on 15-17th September 2019. A host of world-leading scientists and clinicians will present their latest work covering links between genomic integrity and cancer, building new cancer models, and improving therapies. The conference will also provide extensive opportunities for early career researchers to present both talks and posters alongside a world class line up of speakers. Abstracts are actively encouraged and there will be a prize for the best selected talk and best poster. A networking reception will further enable the attendees to make new links across disciplines, stimulating fresh ideas about the biology that underpins cancer development, and new ways to tackle the disease.

For booking and more information visit the website.

Early bird price £150 ends 31 July, full price £180 – registration closes 31 August.

If you would like to present a short talk or poster please submit an abstract of no more than 250 words to by 31 July 2019.

Draft Programme

Launch of the CRUK City of London Centre Computational and Data Resource – 3rd September 2019

On the 3rd September 2019  the CRUK City of London Centre is launching its computational and data resource.  This resource will be a key element in the cancer evolution theme and will enable cancer’s dynamics to be mapped longitudinally during exposure to biological therapies, integrated within the partners’ NHS service. The launch will kick off with a  short presentation explaining what the resource offers and how to access it. Following the presentation, attendees can participate in a Data Challenge; We are encouraging early-career researchers (e.g. PhD students and post-docs) across the partners to form groups and embark on a collaborative effort within the cancer evolution theme to make use of the exciting computer resources available. The launch will be open to CoL Centre Faculty and their lab members only. If you would like more information on the event or to register, please email us.

2019 intake of PhD and Clinical Research trainees recruited to the CoL Centre training programme – June 2019

The first cohort of PhD students and Clinical Research Training Fellows have been appointed to start the CoL Centre Training Programme in September 2019. Two excellent candidates were selected from over 240 applications and will start their PhD in labs based at the Crick and King’s College London. Eight Clinical Research Training Fellows have also been appointed across the Centre. All 2019 CoL trainees will attend an induction week in September and will participate in the next CoL symposium in February.  More information on the trainees and their projects will be available on the website in the next few months.

CRUK CoL Centre on Twitter – 15 March 2019

The CRUK City of London Centre is now on twitter! Follow us @CRUKCOLcentre to get all the news and events on the Centre, and to find out more about the latest cancer biotherapeutics breakthroughs.

CoL Centre Launch Symposium – 19th February 2019

On Tuesday 19 February 2019, 97 researchers from across the consortium were brought together for the first event from the Cancer Research UK City of London (CRUK CoL) Centre. This event showcased the breadth and depth of cancer biotherapeutics research happening across the Centre. Professor Tariq Enver kicked off the meeting with an overview of the CoL Centre strategy, this was followed by some fascinating talks from each of the Centre’s three research programmes. The symposium concluded with talks from the paediatric and training leads.  It is envisaged that in the coming years this annual symposium will grow and facilitate novel initiatives and collaborations to promote and accelerate cancer biotherapeutics research.