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Institute for Integrated Cancer Medicine

We aim to transform the way the world treats cancer to accelerate cures.

Researcher at the CRUK Cambridge Centre
Research at the CRUK Cambridge Institute.

It seemed a leap forward when we began to use a patient’s DNA to inform treatment. But now we are integrating multiple diverse data sets, using cutting-edge artificial intelligence to analyse treatment response in real-time, and tailoring therapy to provide a personalised patient pathway.

The goal of the Integrated Cancer Medicine (ICM) concept is to provide standard of care precision cancer medicine for each cancer patient that is based on a combined assessment and integration of data streams including genetic data, imaging data, clinical data, and markers of tumour response.

A combination of blood tests, biopsies, medical imaging, and genetic tests are already being collected for each cancer patient; however, it is not always clear which of these increasingly large datasets are the most important in guiding treatment at specific points in the patient journey.

The ability to provide a more personalised treatment pathway is based on combining all these diverse data types into a single platform that can inform and predict the best treatment decisions for each individual patient. This may include predicting response to treatment given before surgery, monitoring treatment and response as the patient journey progresses and possibly changing to a different therapy or, where appropriate, enrolment on a clinical trial. There is also the chance to predict the risk of a patient relapsing and the likelihood of other family members suffering from the same disease in the future.

The Cancer Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory (CMDL) (opens in a new tab) will be located in the Institute for Integrated Cancer Medicine to provide support to translational and clinical research by processing and analysing clinical samples, such as tumour tissue and whole blood, from cancer patients. The results generated are used in the diagnosis of personalised cancer treatments for patients. T

Professor James Brenton
Professor James Brenton.

ICM clinical trials or studies

ICM research is currently focused on five main disease areas with clinical studies or trials in: blood, breast, ovarian, kidney and pancreatic cancer.

The DIRECT trial for patients with Diffuse Large B Cell Lymphoma (DLBCL) aims to address the 30-40% of patients who do not respond well to the current treatment and to subcategorise the different molecular subtypes of DLBCL and their response to different therapies.

PARTNER and PARTNERING are trials for women with early triple-negative or BRCA-positive breast cancer and may be offered to breast cancer patients who are also enrolled on the Personalised Breast Cancer Programme.

The OV04/06 translational study in ovarian cancer aims to investigate treatment response and mechanisms of chemotherapy resistance in a disease where survival rates are low, with 70% of patients dying from recurrent or primary drug-resistant disease.

The ATRiUM clinical trial is primarily for patients with pancreatic cancer and aims to identify new combination therapies, and to determine biomarkers that indicate good response to novel therapies.

The WIRE clinical trial offers kidney cancer patients new and innovative drug treatments in the one month waiting period between diagnosis and surgery. It is run in partnership with AstraZeneca.

“By bringing this information together in real time, we are starting to understand why some patients do not respond to their treatment. This work is only possible because of the unique multidisciplinary team and ethos of the Integrated Cancer Medicine Programme.”

Professor James Brenton, MFICM co-leader and a Senior Group leader at the CRUK Cambridge Institute.

The women helping to change the story of ovarian cancer

A group of women who are at the centre of pioneering research in Cambridge that’s changing the outcome of ovarian cancer are helping to create treatments that are as unique as their stories. Although they were all diagnosed with the same type of cancer, their cancers, and the ovarian cancers of other women, are in many ways quite different – and this could modify how they respond to treatment.

The ovarian cancer patient group provides advice and input into research and clinical trials at Cambridge to improve outcomes for ovarian cancer patients. The women meet virtually several times a month, offering each other support during a life-changing time. Their unique experiences are helping to frame and refine research questions, as well as improve service delivery.

Watch the women in the ovarian cancer patient group tell their story.


Research leads/directors: Professor Jean Abraham, Professor James Brenton, Professor Richard Gilbertson, Professor Grant Stewart, Professor Mireia Crispin-Ortuzar

Find out more on the Institute of Integrated Cancer Medicine website (opens in a new tab).