A decade of pioneering research

29 September 2022

It's been ten years since the Centre for Molecular Pathology (CMP) opened in Sutton, bringing together researchers from The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust and The Institute of Cancer Research, London, under one roof.

The Centre for Molecular Pathology, based in Sutton

The £18.2-million facility, which is dedicated to the research of personalised cancer treatment, was financed through capital funding awarded by the Department of Health to the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR), the Wolfson Foundation and The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity. Many teams and facilities part of the CMP receive funding and support from the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre at The Royal Marsden and ICR.

To mark this milestone, here are 10 ways in which the CMP has transformed how we treat cancer.

The 100,000 Genomes

The Royal Marsden collected decoded genomes from patients as part of this project, which sequenced 100,000 genomes from 85,000 people with cancer and rare diseases, helping to develop a genomic medicine service for the NHS and transform patient care.

Discover more about the 100,000 Genomes Project

Taking part in major trials

Researchers at The Royal Marsden and the ICR played a crucial role in the Cancer Research UK Stratified Medicine programme and the National Lung Matrix trial, the largest clinical trial of precision medicine for non-small-cell lung cancer patients, both as a major recruiting site and one of the centres that carried out molecular profiling. 

Discover more about the Cancer Research UK Stratified Medicine programme and National Lung Matrix trial

A genomics hub for London

As part of the North Thames Genomic Laboratory Hub - which supports the NHS's Genomics Medicine Service - The Royal Marsden's Clinical Genomics service, which receives support for its research from the BRC, now undertakes the majority of genomic testing for cancer patients in northeast and west London.

Discover more about The Royal Marsden's Clinical Genomics service

Establishing Partnerships

Working with pharmaceutical companies means that patients at The Royal Marsden benefit from the most advanced technologies. Thanks to a new partnership with Guardant Health, a new in-house liquid biopsy testing facility at the CMP will allow The Royal Marsden to offer bespoke diagnostic testing to many more patients.

Read more about the in-house liquid biopsy testing facility 

Diagnostics for millions

Using the CMP's infrastructure and expertise has provided an integrated diagnostic service for haemato-oncology patients, both at The Royal Marsden and across a catchment area of 3.5 million.

Better genomic sequencing

Thanks to a generous donation from the Denise Coates Foundation to The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity, the centre has a state-of-the-art DNA sequencing technology helping to make diagnostic sequencing more efficient and cost-effect. In addition, the gene-sequencing panels comprehensively detect all currently actionable cancer-related mutations.

An Integrated Pathology Unit

Funded by The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity and the ICR, with additional support from the BRC, the unit is a pioneer in burgeoning field of digital pathology. It uses sophisticated computing tools and artificial intelligence to analyse tissue and learn crucial information about cancer.

Discover more about the Integrated Pathology Unit

A culture of collaboration

Working closely with oncology experts, The Royal Marsden and ICR use innovative genomic testing to bring personalised treatments to patients sooner. The Centre has a large clinical trial portfolio and repertoire of genomic tests which means that teams at the Centre can profile cancers quickly and accurately.

Childhood cancers studied

As part of the Cancer Research UK-funded Stratified Medicine Paediatrics programme, tumours were sequenced using DNA and RNA panels developed at The Royal Marsden, enabling researchers to learn more about genetic changes in children's cancers.

Pioneering liquid biopsies

The development and application of circulating tumour DNA testing has resulted in improved outcomes for patients. The process, which tests blood samples for DNA shed by the tumour, is minimally invasive and can help detect and diagnose cancer as well as inform treatment plans. 

Discover more about liquid biopsies

Our Research

Discover more about the research we fund and support at The Royal Marsden and the ICR, helping to improve cancer treatment, diagnosis and care.