Hale scientist to lead £1.5m research into lung cancer treatment

By David Prior at

A Hale-based scientist is to lead a new £1.47million research programme into lung cancer treatments, funded by Cancer Research UK.

A team of scientists led by Dr James O’Connor, who grew up in Altrincham, is based at The University of Manchester.

He will use the cash injection to look at how imaging techniques can be used to improve treatment plans for lung cancer patients.

His Manchester team will work to develop new ways to use imaging techniques like magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to better understand how lung cancer tumours respond to treatment. The information they gather could then be used to evaluate new therapies and in the future, might help doctors select the right treatment for each patient.

The research is based out of the University of Manchester

The research is based out of the University of Manchester

Every year around 46,400 people are diagnosed with lung cancer in the UK, 2,500 of whom are living in Greater Manchester.

The research will look at non-small cell lung cancer – which makes up around 85 per cent of lung cancers in the UK.

Dr O’Connor said: “We hope this research will transform the way we use scans to monitor how patients respond to new therapies.

“It’s an exciting area where we are aiming to combine drugs that harness the body’s immune system with well-established treatments like radiotherapy, and at the same time, create tests to identify which patients would benefit from these drugs.

Dr James O'Connor 3

Dr James O’Connor, who is leading the research, lives in Hale and grew up in Altrincham

“It builds on earlier research but we will be applying it to lung cancer specifically.”

The research will be done in laboratories, with the hope of running clinical trials with patients to test these techniques within three to four years.

Dr O’Connor is one of only two scientists in the country this year to win the Cancer Research UK Advanced Clinician Scientist Fellowship award – aimed at supporting clinicians working in areas spanning basic and translational research.

Karen Noble, Cancer Research UK’s head of research funding, said: “We hope Dr O’Connor’s important work in Manchester will improve lung cancer treatments for patients not just in Manchester but across the UK in future.”