The Advanced Radiotherapy Group (ARG) is a multidisciplinary team of clinicians, physicists, radiation biologists, radiographers and physiologists who remit is to research, initiate and develop new and advanced radiation treatments encompassing basic laboratory research, pre-clinical studies and clinical delivery.
Over the past 10 years the ARG has progressively expanded its membership, yet it has maintained its intrinsic focus on close, personal and highly robust interdisciplinary partnerships which we believe are key to successful collaborative working to maximise impact for our cancer patients. Translating preclinical findings into novel clinical trials and reverse translation by utilising clinical data and clinical samples are key to our success.
Members of this translational research group are leading experts in radiation and radiotherapy physics, cell biology, mathematical modelling, radiation biology, bladder physiology, and radiation oncology. Several clinical trials (ADRRAD, SPORT, CASPIR, BUSTIN) have been developed, led by members of the ARG, and have recently opened for recruitment within the NI Cancer Centre. These studies cover key themes of the ARG; biomarker development, advanced radiotherapy treatments, normal tissue toxicity and radionuclide therapies. Concurrently with the Trial recruitment pre-clinical work is on-going to research, model and study the clinical paradigms being investigated.
A leading strength and area of focus of the ARG is mathematical modelling of advanced radiotherapy treatments from in-vitro through in-vivo to clinical treatment plans and patient outcome data. Work is on-going to look at combinations of advanced radiotherapies with new molecularly targeted agents, the applications of image-guided therapies, ion beam therapies, use of fibre optics for radiotherapy applications and radionuclide approaches. Some aspects of the work are disease specific, with a particular focus around prostate cancer, as part of the PCUK/Movember Centre of Excellence, other interests are in breast, lung and brain tumours with members also contributing to other PGJCCR programs such as breast, ovarian and genito-urinary/prostate.
Members of the ARG are involved in national and international collaborations based around a wide range of studies. Current funding includes Prostate Cancer UK, Cancer Research UK, Brainwaves NI, MRC, EPSRC, UK Department of Health, Friends of the Cancer Centre, The R&D office and the European Commission. Industry support and collaborations comes from Augmenix, Astra Zeneca, PTW, GW, XStrahl, Almac and the National Physical Laboratory. Cross-faculty links are also in place with members of the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences (EPS) with on-going projects in ion beam therapies and radiation studies using nanoparticles.
The objectives of the Advanced Radiotherapy Group are to maximise our input into Radiation Oncology Research and Development by:
- Developing new collaborative research programmes in Advanced Radiotherapies;
- Maximising the translational opportunities of our research;
- Inputting into new radiation-based clinical studies at the Northern Ireland Cancer Centre (NICC);
- Maximising training opportunities in radiation sciences;
- Initiating collaborative projects with other focus groups and external partners;
- Profiling radiation-based work at Queen’s, nationally and internationally.
Our research covers three component areas:
- Radiation Biology;
- Radiotherapy Physics;
- Clinical Radiotherapy Research (including radiographer led research).