press release
Published: 28 November 2018

National Institute of Healthcare Research funds Surrey project for new lung cancer treatment

A new method to treat lung cancer with radiotherapy has received backing from the National Institute of Healthcare Research (NIHR).

Gail Distefano, Principal Clinical Scientist at the Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (RSCH), has been awarded an NIHR Doctoral Research Fellowship to study at the Centre for Vision, Speech and Signal Processing (CVSSP) at the University of Surrey.

Gail’s PhD project will see her use new technology developed at CVSSP to image the surface of the patient’s chest combined with her expertise in x-ray CT images to design a new method for planning the delivery of highly targeted doses to lung tumours.

Alongside this fellowship, Ms Distefano is one of only four people to receive a Chief Scientific Officer’s Women in Science and Engineering Fellowship earlier in the year. This is a 12-month programme during which she will be mentored by senior leaders in healthcare, industry and academia.

Gail Distefano said of her upcoming PhD project: “This is a fantastic opportunity. I am thrilled to be joining the team at CVSSP and embarking on this research project with the ultimate aim of improving radiotherapy for lung cancer and increasing the number of eligible patients.”

Philip Evans, Professor of Medical Radiation Imaging at the University of Surrey, said: “We are delighted to have Gail on board. I am certain that her ideas and expertise will help us drive this project forward and could help thousands in their battle against lung cancer.”

Prof Adrian Hilton, Director of CVSSP said “Gail’s NIHR PhD fellowship will strengthen our collaboration with the Royal Surrey County Hospital and NPL addressing important challenges to improve personalised treatment of cancer”

Gail’s PhD is in partnership with the medical physics and radiotherapy departments of RSCH, CVSSP and the medical physics group at the University of Surrey and the MEMPHYS Institute of the National Physical Laboratory ─ a new centre that works closely with the NHS, academia and industry to enable the rapid and widespread implementation of a host of new diagnostic and therapeutic technologies.

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR): improving the health and wealth of the nation through research.

Established by the Department of Health, the NIHR:

·  funds high quality research to improve health

·  trains and supports health researchers

·  provides world-class research facilities

·  works with the life sciences industry and charities to benefit all

·  involves patients and the public at every step

For further information, visit the NIHR website (www.nihr.ac.uk).

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