CRUK/MRC Oxford Institute for Radiation Oncology Features on BBC Radio 4

Professor Gillies McKenna and researchers from the Cancer Research UK and Medical Research Council Oxford Institute for Radiation Oncology featured on Radio 4’s ‘Broadcasting House’ on Sunday 18th May 2014.

Following the recent high profile death of teenager Stephen Sutton and Cancer Research UK’s announcement that a tipping point has been reached in tackling cancer, the programme wanted to broadcast a briefing on progress against cancer. They visited the CRUK/MRC Oxford Institute to find out more about one area of treatment, radiation therapy.

With the help of postdoctoral scientists Dorine Bax, Iain Tullis and Pamela Reynolds and DPhil student Giacomo Pirovano, the programme’s presenter Paddy O'Connell was introduced to some of the pioneering work being done at the Institute to achieve the ultimate goal of making cancer cells more sensitive to radiation treatment so that lower doses can be used to increase the rate of cure. Paddy, who likened the research to “weapons testing”, was invited to view cancer cells down a microscope and see the impressive linear accelerator in operation.

Professor McKenna explained that the solution to treating cancer will not be a single shot, but is likely to be personalised. He talked about taking a precision medicine approach where the best combination of all available therapies for a particular patient would be used. He concluded “We’ve reached the point where more than 50% of patients with cancer are likely to be cured…We’re on a roll. Things are getting better all the time and we need to bring the best minds to bear now on what are clearly still intractable difficult problems, but I think we can do it. I think it can be done”.

You can listen to the full programme or the corresponding BBC Science and Nature clip: 


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