STFC Cancer Diagnosis Network+

Lead Research Organisation: University of Liverpool
Department Name: Physics

Abstract

This proposal seeks to establish a multidisciplinary community to address challenges in the diagnosis of cancer, which is one of the most important societal and economic global challenges of this century. Cancer accounts for 1 in every 6 deaths worldwide, which makes it the second leading cause of death globally. In addition to the devastating impact of this disease on patients and their families, the total annual global economic cost of cancer is estimated to be approximately £1 trillion. The challenge will become even more prevalent in our ageing society, since the incidence of cancer rises significantly with age, whilst cellular repair mechanisms also become less effective. Reducing cancer mortality rates in our ageing global population could be achieved by earlier diagnosis and more accurate staging of disease.

The Network+ community will develop technologies and techniques that aim to improve patient quality of life, increase the chance of patient survival and reduce associated cancer services costs. The Network+ will focus on four themes of (1) early diagnosis, (2) precision and quantitative imaging, (3) multimodal techniques and (4) data science techniques applied to imaging and bioinformatics. The expertise developed through the core STFC science programmes that are particularly relevant to these topics are the development of high resolution and high sensitivity detectors, multispectral detectors, algorithms for image analysis and data mining techniques. The network+ will host multidisciplinary challenge-led workshops and provide funding for approximately 16 scoping studies, 5 to 10 proof of concept projects and 2 co-funded PhD studentships. It will also develop the research capacity of early career researchers through travel awards, discipline-hopping placements and training. In addition, position papers and fact sheets will be produced. The network will actively engage with external partners to build membership. The results from the funded projects will be disseminated to members by newsletters, a website and at an end of network conference, which will also be a forum to discuss potential future collaborative opportunities. The website will also be used to showcase events to all stakeholders.

Planned Impact

The STFC Cancer Diagnosis network+ will generate impact through a number of pathways:
1. Knowledge transfer: establishing a multi-disciplinary cancer community drawn from academics, hospitals and the healthcare industry who can engage in current and future global healthcare research challenges.
2. Technology development: developing novel and accessible technologies and techniques from STFC funded research for enhanced cancer diagnosis and staging of disease.
3. Skills development: the research and skills capacity of early career researchers will be enhanced by embedding them in cross-sector activities, improving the career progression of the next generation of innovators.
4. Economic competitiveness: new links with UK and global industrial healthcare partners will be fostered, leading to commercialisation of technologies and techniques for improved economic welfare.
5. Global health: responding to global cancer diagnosis challenges through the network and wider community by generation of novel ideas and techniques, leading to improved patient quality of life and reduced morality rates.
6. Policy development: position papers will identify key areas for further research in the short, medium and long term, which will improve dialogue with stakeholders and inform prioritisation of funding.
7. Public engagement:development of dissemination activities for imrpoved public awareness of the importance of STFC technology innovation in healthcare.
8. Academic community: immediate research outcomes to be reported in publications and conferences, leading to further funding of de-risked projects through UKRI, ODA and the Industry Strategy Fund.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description CRUK 
Organisation Cancer Research UK
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution STFC CDN+ have worked hard to stregthen and build this partnership via regulat communications and engagement
Collaborator Contribution CRUK reached out to STFC CDN+ via Twitter at the start of the Network. It makes sense for the two to work closely toegther due to the shared nature 'cancer diagnosis'. CRUK have engaged with us on a regular basis provding opportunities for us to collaborate, sharing our funding calls information, and also contributing to our quarterly newsletter.
Impact - CRUK contributed to the planning and development of our Nov 2020 Virtual Challenge Workshop event which fcoused on 'Early Diagnosis'. They provided speaker suggestions, industrial partner contacts to be included in our networking event, advised on the structure of the event, and also provided a speaker at the event to talk through thier latest funding call.
Start Year 2019
 
Description Central Laser Facility Research Complex at Harwell 
Organisation Research Complex at Harwell
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution A new collaboration with the Central Laser Facility Research Complex at Harwell has been formed as part of the STFC CDN+ Proof of Concept call. Dr Lin Wang is the lead for the project and is the Senior Link Scientist at the Octopus Facility.
Collaborator Contribution STFC's Central Laser Facility (CLF) in Harwell Campus is the UK's national laser facility, which offers access to advanced laser technologies ranging from extremely high power lasers for investigating matter under extreme conditions, to spectroscopy and imaging facilities for life sciences, chemistry and materials research. Octopus, one of the CLF's facilities, is an advanced imaging facility containing a mixture of inhouse- built and commercial systems, offering a range of optical imaging techniques. Octopus facility is a leading organisation in the field of super-resolution microscopy, providing the whole set of expertise and access to experiment design, sample preparation and optimisation, data acquisition, management, analysis and rendering. There are a variety of super-resolution microscopy techniques, such as super-resolution radial fluctuations (SRRF) microscopy, photoactivated localisation microscopy (PALM), stochastic optical reconstruction optical microscopy (STORM), structured illumination microscopy (SIM) and stimulated emission depletion (STED) microscopy, available at Octopus. Super-resolution microscopy has been extensively used in the studies of protein distribution and organisation in the biological systems ranging from viruses, bacteria, yeasts to mammalian cells, however they remain unexplored in medical and preclinical tissue imaging. In this project, by removing the diffraction limit in the histological technique of microscopy with ultraviolet surface excitation (MUSE), CLF's
Impact There will be four main objectives of this new collaboration: 1) Development of a bench-top MUSE system; (2) Development of SRRF imaging scheme and analysis in MUSE; (3) Quantitative evaluation of spatial resolution in SR-MUSE; (4) Demonstration of SR-MUSE imaging of tissue specimens from mouse brain, kidney and liver.
Start Year 2022
 
Description PhD Loughborough University Medical Physics 
Organisation Loughborough University
Department Department of Physics
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution STFC CDN+ conducted a competive PHD funding call. Loughborough were successful in this call and have since received funding to cover 50% of a PhD studentship.
Collaborator Contribution The University of Loughborough submitted an application for PhD funding from CDN+ in Dec 2019. They were successfully awarded funding from this call and have since appointed a PhD student who they are supervising to carry out research realting to Networks aims and opjectsives.
Impact Loughborough University continue to support and mentor the PhD student in post, who is providing regular updates on the CDN+ project they are undertaking. They are also contributing to our network events and communications, such as blog posts and Twitter. They are actively carrying out innovative research to help improve cancer diagnosis.
Start Year 2019
 
Description PhD University of Surrey Medical Physics 
Organisation University of Surrey
Department Department of Physics
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution STFC CDN+ conducted a competive PHD funding call. The University were successful in this call and have since received funding to cover 50% of a PhD studentship.
Collaborator Contribution The University of Surrey submitted an application for PhD funding from CDN+ in Feb 2020. They were successfully awarded funding from this call and have since appointed a PhD student who they are supervising to carry out research realting to Networks aims and opjectsives.
Impact The University of Surrey cointinue to support and mentor the PhD student in post, who is providing regular updates on the CDN+ project they are undertaking. They are also contributing to our network events and communications, such as blog posts and Twitter. They are actively carrying out innovative research to help improve cancer diagnosis.
Start Year 2020
 
Description Proof of Concept - The Institute of Cancer Research 
Organisation Institute of Cancer Research UK
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution STFC CDN+ conducted a competive Proof of Concept funding call. The Institute of Cancer Research were successful in this call and have since received funding to cover 80% of 5 month Proof of Concept project.
Collaborator Contribution The Institute of Cancer Research submitted an application for Proof of Concept funding call in March 2020. They were successfully awarded funding from this call and have since been carrying out research relating to the Networks aims and objectives
Impact The Institute of Cancer Research are providing regular updates on the CDN+ project they are undertaking. They are also contributing to our network events and communications, such as blog posts and Twitter. They are actively carrying out innovative research to help improve cancer diagnosis.
Start Year 2020
 
Description Proof of Concept - University Of Central Lancashire 
Organisation University of Central Lancashire
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution STFC CDN+ conducted a competive Proof of Concept funding call. University Of Central Lancashire were successful in this call and have since received funding for an 18 month Proof of Concept.
Collaborator Contribution University Of Central Lancashire submitted an application for Proof of Concept funding call in March 2020. They were successfully awarded funding from this call and have since been carrying out research relating to the Networks aims and objectives
Impact University Of Central Lancashire are providing regular updates on the CDN+ project they are undertaking. They are also contributing to our network events and communications, such as blog posts and Twitter. They are actively carrying out innovative research to help improve cancer diagnosis.
Start Year 2020
 
Description Scoping Study - University of Sussex 
Organisation University of Sussex
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution STFC CDN+ conducted a competive Scoping Study funding call. University of Sussex were successful in this call and have since received funding to cover 80% of 6 month Scopy Study.
Collaborator Contribution The University of Sussex submitted an application for Scoping Study funding call in March 2020. They were successfully awarded funding from this call and have since a carried out research realting to Networks aims and objectives
Impact University of Sussex are providing regular updates on the CDN+ project they are undertaking. They are also contributing to our network events and communications, such as blog posts and Twitter. They are actively carrying out innovative research to help improve cancer diagnosis.
Start Year 2020
 
Description Society and College of Radiographers 
Organisation Society of Radiographers
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Learned Society 
PI Contribution The STFC CDN+ established a new partnership with the Society and College of Radiographers (SCoR) by reaching out to them and inviting members to our launch events and challenge workshops. A strong communication channel has been forged, with key members of SCoR receiveing our quarterly newsletter, attending our events, as well as following us and supporting us via Twitter. We also approached a professional officer for clinical imaging and research at the Society and College of Radiographers (SCoR) to sit on our Steering Committee, to secure clinical input to the decision making panel.
Collaborator Contribution The contribution of the Society and College of Radiographers (SCoR) to the STFC CDN+ has been significant. The Professional Officer for clinical imaging and research from SCoR who now sits on our Steering Commitee has brought new community members on board, by sharing our communications internally and inviting a wide range of new stakeholders to our workshop events. They have also contributed to decision making for the panel, helping to review funding recommendations put forward by the Leadership Team. SCoR have also contributed to our regular communication drive to grow and spread awareness of the Network by writing blogs posts that have been shared via our website.
Impact The parnerships between CDN+ and SCoR has forged the start of new multidiscipolinary collabroations between them and industrial partmers who have been eager to get clincial invovlement within their developments and projects. Conversations have taken place within our workshop evenst and follow up emails have led to strengthening collaborations forged.
Start Year 2020
 
Description York and Scarborough Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust 
Organisation York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Prof Bogdan Matuszewski has forged a new collaboration with Consultant Gastroenterologist as a result of the STFC CDN+ funded Proof of Concept project. Mr Turvill is a clinical lead for a large-scale NHS Colon Capsule Endoscopy evaluation programme, based at York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.
Collaborator Contribution The new collaboration will enable a coordinated approach between technology push and clinical pull, as part of the Proof of Concept study. This will aid the aim of developing an automated system for decision support in colonoscopy.
Impact This is a new multi disciplinary collaboration, as a direct result of the STFC DN+ Network, bringing together acaedmia, clinicians and indutrail partners (Medtronic, a manufacturer of capsule colonoscopy devices).
Start Year 2022
 
Description Early Career Engagement Event 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Presented a talk and participated as a panelist at an early Career Event for postgraduate and postdoctoral researchers at the Institute of Physics in London.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
 
Description STFC CDN+ Launch Event 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact The STFC Cancer Diagnosis Network+ was successfully launched on 9th September 2019. More than 90 national and international delegates attended the launch event at the University of Liverpool with attendees from universities, STFC facilities, industry, and healthcare. Leading expert's gave thought-provoking talks on each of the network's key challenge themes. The event was also a great networking opportunity for attendees to create new 'Cancer Diagnosis' links that will hopefully emerge as future research collaborations.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://sites.google.com/view/stfccancerdiagnosis/home/workshops
 
Description STFC Cancer Diagnosis Challenge Workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact STFC Challenge workshop 1 took place on campus in Leicester on Monday 20th January 2020. The event focused on 'Precision and Quantitative Imaging'. It was a great success with over 50 delegates attending from academic, clinical and industrial backgrounds. IOP Award winning Dr Dimitra Darambara chaired the day, introducing the four distinguished speakers; Prof Phil Allport, Dr Malene Fischer, Prof Nigel Allison and Dr Calum Williams. Network opportunities were also built into the day, with the group being divided up into smaller groups to start new techonology conversations and help establish new collabortions going forward.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://sites.google.com/view/stfccancerdiagnosis/home/workshops
 
Description STFC Cancer Diagnostic Network+ Virtual Challenge Workshop - Early Diagnosis 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact The event focused on the theme of 'Early Diagnosis'. It was a half-day session, that included thought provoking speakers, a question and answer session, facilitated breakout rooms and an opportunity to engage with key industrial exhibitors. The event was Chaired by our CDN+ 'Early Diagnosis' theme lead Prof Nandita de Souza, with Co-Chair Prof John Lees. There was a funding call announcement for CDN+ Proof of Concept and Scoping Studies opened at the event. The event will helped establish further multidisciplinary collaborations between academic, clinicians and industry members to work together and address clinical challenges in the diagnosis of cancer.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://sites.google.com/view/stfccancerdiagnosis/home/workshops
 
Description School Visit (Ballycastle) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact 50 pupils attended a seminar delivered at Cross and Passion School, Ballycastle. After the seminar, emails were received from teachers and parents of pupils who attended. The school also posted on social media about the seminar.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2022
 
Description Seminar to undergraduate students at University of West Scotland 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact Seminar on the development of DEPICT for dose verification of radionuclide therapy. The audience was mainly undergraduate students, none of whom are from my institution. There was an increase in interest in medical applications of nuclear physics and a number of students asked for more information and to read my publications and book.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Talk at Liverpool Cancer Research Institute 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Approximately 80 people attended a talk at the Liverpool Cancer Research Institute Symposium, including patient groups and Clinicians. Several follow up discussions, including around patient involvement in ongoing research projects and increased awareness of technical innovations to Clinicians.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
 
Description Talk at STFC Knowledge Exchange Event "Collaborating with industry and the NHS to develop next generation medical imaging systems" 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Talk at a knowledge exchange event to showcase how research projects have been developed in collaboration with the NHS and radiation detector industry. Discussed timescales and advised on challenges faced, to encourage other multidisciplinary activities.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019