The Oxford Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) has strong links with industry from multi-nationals to small start-ups. We are very experienced in collaborative working and understand the value of strong partnerships.
Examples of some of our partnerships projects include the following:
HAIFU (HIFU) Technology Company
HIFU is a non-invasive tumour ablation treatment that is widely used in Asia, but not yet established in Europe or the USA. Surgeons at Oxford were the first to work with HIFU engineers in China to conduct clinical trials and obtain a CE mark for use of their technology in Europe. The technology has progressed and the HAIFU (HIFU) Technology Company has recently provided their most advanced equipment for use in a new unit, to be used for patient treatment, clinical trials and training.
Oxford BRC has provided funding for converting an ultrasound room at the Churchill Hospital to house the equipment and establish a new HIFU suite. This centre of excellence has attracted other collaborators interested in ablation studies and developing other uses for HIFU.
The Cancer Theme has collaborated with AstraZeneca in the development of AZD6244, a MEK inhibitor also known as selumetinib, in melanoma. Professor Middleton was involved in the design of two randomised phase 2 studies of the compound in melanoma: a comparison of selumetinib with temozolomide, and a trial of dacarbazine chemotherapy +/- the kinase inhibitor. As well as participating in the trials, he served as one of the global Chief Investigators for the latter study.
Through the National Cancer Research Institute’s Melanoma Clinical Studies Group the second trial was adopted onto the UK’s national portfolio, providing multiple participating centres and delivering the most numbers of patients screened and enrolled in the trial by any country. Latterly Oxford has established a further national trial for patients with BRAF wt melanoma, funded by Astrazeneca and the National Cancer Research Network. In this study, called DOC-MEK, patients are randomised to docetaxel with selumetinib or placebo. The study involves a dozen UK centres, and will report results in 2012.
Imaging Theme Collaborates with GE Healthcare
When a patient inhales hyperpolarised gas into their lungs, it can be viewed by an MRI scanner; a useful technique for seeing which areas of the lung are ventilated. GE healthcare has selected Oxford as one of five centres in the world to have this new technology.
GE Healthcare has provided a polariser and the Oxford Biomedical Research Centre Imaging Theme has collaborated with experts in MR pulse sequence development to set up a working unit for clinical trials to develop this imaging technology. Together with experts from Oxford University’s Computational Biology Group, the theme hopes to develop this method to provide a quantifiable measure of lung function which better reflects a patient’s condition than current techniques, such as spirometry.
The Oxford BRC has provided funding for establishing the manufacturing unit for hyperpolarised xenon and supports the team with the cost of gases and other equipment. Patients from the BRC COPD cohort will have the opportunity to have MRI scans with xenon to monitor their disease as part of the cohort programme.