MRI scanner


Group lead
Prof Eric Aboagye
+44 (0)20 3313 3759

Cancer Imaging

Dr Laura Kenny describes how imaging is used in oncology, and provides an outline of molecular imaging research in cancer.

Disease areas

What we do

We are involved in the discovery, development and application of imaging methods, mainly positron emission tomography (PET), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and ultrasound (US) for clinical studies of cancer biology, physiology and pharmacology, as well as experimental studies of tumour models. Our aim is to develop methods that will make a significant impact on patient care in the short to medium term; and in the long term train the next generation of imaging scientists.

Why it is important

Our research aims to detect cancer and cancer phenotypes quicker and in a more sensitive way, as well as stratify patients more effectively to therapy, particularly in the context of drug development. The very rapid changes in molecular targets and pathways associated with anti-cancer treatment, evident in days rather than weeks, means that we can in the future detect response to therapy much earlier than current clinical standards of radiological shrinkage. Understanding disease biology in different tumour types will ultimately permit personalised medicine to be delivered to patients in the form of ‘theranostics’ (detect-and-treat).

How it can benefit patients

Our work helps in diagnosis, prognosis and treatment of cancer.

Summary of current research

  • Imaging of therapy response - development and application of caspase-3 and nucleoside salvage markers
  • Imaging of cell surface receptors and theranostic (detect & treat) applications - EGFR, SSTR2, HER2, CXCR4
  • Imaging cancer metabolism - fatty acid oxidation, glycogenesis, choline and nucleoside metabolism
  • Novel radiochemistry & radiotracer discovery and translational research
  • Radiomics and machine learning for cancer detection and prognosis.
  • Cancer pharmacology - choline kinase and HDAC6


Clinical trials

  • Development of novel imaging agents including first in man trials
  • Cancer drug development - experimental medicine (Phase I/II)
  • Imaging & molecular biomarker studies

PhD students

When we have funding for PhD studentships, we advertise them through central channels such as Find a PhD. Information is also available on the Surgery and Cancer study page. If no studentships are currently advertised, please get in touch with the group lead with proposed project titles to discuss further. 

Current PhD students:

  • Marta Braga (Joint with Bioengineering)
  • Alice Beckley
  • Cen Chen
  • Suraiya Dubash
  • Yunqing Li
  • Shairoz Merchant
  • Sofia Sarpaki (Joint with University of Bath)
  • Michael Watson

Our researchers

Professor Eric O Aboagye FMedSci

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Professor Eric O Aboagye FMedSci

Mr Chris Barnes

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Mr Chris Barnes
Research Scientist

Dr Suraiya Dubash

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Dr Suraiya Dubash
Clinical Research Fellow

Miss Kasia Kozlowski

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Miss Kasia Kozlowski
Clinical Research Practitioner

Cancer Imaging Research Group

                                                            Cancer imaging research group