The University of Manchester is home to world-leading research led by experts spanning the full cancer spectrum – from ground-breaking discovery science to innovative clinical trials.
We are in the right place to lead the global cancer research effort. The scientists, doctors and infrastructure required to make this happen are all here in Manchester, alongside a diverse population with higher than average incidence of cancer.
The University’s strong links with local hospitals and NHS trusts mean our researchers work side-by-side with clinicians, quite literally taking our research from the lab bench to the bedside.
We are helping to create a world in which more of us survive cancer...
Our global impact is only possible due to our close relationship with the world’s biggest charitable funder of cancer research and one of Europe’s largest cancer hospitals.
Together we are helping to create a world in which more of us survive cancer by pioneering innovative and impactful ways of preventing, detecting and treating all types of cancer.
Through our primary care and policy work, solutions to the physical, emotional and economic impacts of cancer are also being studied and put into practice by our researchers.
Areas of research activity
The diversity of our strengths reflects our expertise and established position as a pioneer in a number of fields.
- Discovery science
- Experimental cancer medicine
- Prevention and early detection
- Radiotherapy related research (including proton therapy research)
“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. It’s a pleasure to be part of this extraordinary Manchester team.”Professor Rob Bristow / Cancer research strategy lead
From investment to impact
Manchester is one of only two designated major centres supported by Cancer Research UK (CRUK), with £39 million of funding awarded over the next five years.
CRUK highlighted our ability to translate findings from lab to clinic as being of international standing.
We have also attracted funding for centres of excellence in lung and prostate cancer research.
In addition to this, cancer research is a prominent theme in the recent £28 million award for a Biomedical Research Centre by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).
Cancer may be one illness, but it is unique to the individual.
We are working towards a future where every cancer patient receives a personalised treatment plan from the day of diagnosis, based on their genetic make-up and that of their tumour.
- We lead numerous early phase trials to test the latest targeted therapies and increasingly use molecular profiling to maximise patient benefit.
- Our work in radiotherapy looks to reduce side effects and improve survival.
- Through research into cancer prevention and earlier detection, we are helping to catch cancer at a stage when treatment can be most effective.
- We host the biggest and best collection of academic researchers assessing blood-based biomarkers in the world, having pioneered this area. This ‘liquid biopsy’ is the future of cancer diagnosis and monitoring. Through this we will find cancer earlier and treat it better.
- Our researchers will soon work on the country’s only high-energy NHS proton beam facility with a dedicated research room, enabling scientists to provide doctors with the evidence base for this cutting-edge treatment.
Professor Rob Bristow
Research Domain Director for Cancer, The University of Manchester, and Director, Manchester Cancer Research Centre
Rob Bristow is one of the world's leading experts on prostate cancer. He works with scientific and clinical researchers in Greater Manchester to develop personalised medicine approaches for cancer patients worldwide.
Professor Richard Marais
Director, Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute
Richard Marais translates basic research into melanoma into patient benefit. His work has led to a BRAF drug discovery programme in partnership with the Institute of Cancer Research.
Professor Tim Illidge
Head of Division of Cancer Sciences, The University of Manchester
Tim Illidge is an expert in antibodies and radio-immunotherapy for lymphoma. He is looking at how radiotherapy successfully attacks tumours and how this can be combined with other treatments.
Browse a list of all researchers who are active in this domain.
Training future scientists and doctors
We are the UK’s largest single site University and home to Europe’s largest medical school. Our size and access to expertise means that we are one of the world’s leading centres for oncology teaching and research.
Postgraduate research opportunities
PhD projects that are currently advertised are available via a researcher’s profile or by searching our postgraduate research project finder.
Funded PhD programmes
There are two flagship programmes:
Cancer research beacon
Cancer is one of The University of Manchester’s five research beacons. The beacons are based around some of the biggest questions facing the planet.
They bring together our efforts to address these problems with examples of pioneering discoveries, interdisciplinary collaboration and cross-sector partnerships.
Associated research centres
- Manchester Cancer Research Centre (MCRC)
- Cancer Research UK Manchester Centre
- Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute (CRUK MI)
- Cancer Research UK Lung Cancer Centre for Excellence
- Movember Centre of Excellence in Prostate Cancer
- NIHR Manchester Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (adult and paediatric ECMCs)
- CRUK/EPSRC Cancer Imaging Centre in Cambridge and Manchester
- Proton Beam Therapy Centre
- Clinical Proteomics Centre for Stratified Medicine / Stoller
You can also browse related research within the Division of Cancer Sciences via the University's research explorer.