MAHSC Inaugural Lectures: Professor Raffaele Califano

An aerial view of Greater Manchester.

The MAHSC Honorary Clinical Chairs are awarded on an annual basis by The University of Manchester’s Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health Promotions Committee. They are awarded to individuals from across Greater Manchester who have made a major contribution to their clinical specialty, including excellence in research and education. There are now 86 MAHSC Honorary Clinical Chairs.

In this new series of lectures, MAHSC Honorary Clinical Chairs are celebrated as we invite the audience to hear their professional and personal journeys, clinical and research areas, and plans for the future.

The second in the MAHSC Inaugural Lecture series welcomed MAHSC Honorary Clinical Chair Professor Raffaele Califano.

A clinical interest in thoracic oncology

Professor Raffaele Califano works as a Consultant Medical Oncologist at The Christie in Manchester, United Kingdom. He is also Honorary Professor of Medical Oncology (Manchester Academic Health Science Centre Honorary Clinical Chair) at The University of Manchester, and he is the clinical trials lead for the Lung Team at The Christie.

Professor Califano spoke about his special interest in thoracic oncology, specifically in targeted agents in oncogenic-driven tumors, such as EGFR and ALK positive NSCLC, and immunotherapies for lung cancer. He noted how the last 10-15 years have been fascinating within this area:


Watch Professor Califano's lecture here:

“Thanks to a better understanding of the molecular biology of NSCLC, we are now able to identify a number of molecular aberrations which can be actioned with targeted therapies.

“If we are able to identify this genomic molecular aberration or oncogenic drivers, and we can match them with the right target therapies, we are able to improve survival and outcomes for our patients with better quality of life.”

Professor Califano also noted how we have increased our understanding of the interaction between the tumor cells and the immune system, and the significance this has for a number of disease groups:

“We’re now able to harness the immune system via immune checkpoint blockade, and we can use and direct the T cells to unleash an anti-tumor response. We are now able to use monoclonal antibodies as systemic anti-cancer therapies for a number of disease groups, and this is particularly relevant for lung cancer.”

A passion for research

Professor Califano spoke about how he has lead on National Cancer Research Institute badged clinical trials evaluating immunotherapy and molecularly-driven targeted agents in lung cancer. He has developed a research team with the capability to successfully deliver large national and international studies with globally-competitive recruitment, and has been Chief Investigator for the UK on several trial steering committees.


Future research challenges

Professor Califano highlighted future research challenges, including the importance of improving survival for patients with untreated advanced EGFR mutant NSCLC, and for pre-treated patients with SCLC. He also has an interest in drug development for overcoming mechanism of resistance to anti-PD-(L1) drugs.

The Christie Hospital


Professor Califano finished by acknowledging the support of his colleagues, highlighting the importance of collaborations:

“I wouldn’t be where I am or what I am without the support of several people throughout the years and most importantly the team at The Christie. I have the pleasure to work with fantastic Medical Oncology and Clinical oncology colleagues. I value the support of the Secretarial team, a fantastic team of lung specialist nurses and research nurses. The clinical trials admin team works behind the scene to make sure that we can set up and deliver the clinical trials. I’ve had the pleasure to work with excellent SPRs and fellows over the years and certainly I’ve had a lot of help from international collaborators and from international societies.”

In addition, Professor Califano said: “I would like to thank my mentors for providing an enormous amount of opportunities and wouldn’t be where I am today without them”

Professor Fiona Blackhall, Professor of Thoracic Oncology and Honorary Consultant in Medical Oncology at The Christie NHS Foundation Trust, has worked with Professor Califano for over 10 years, and said:

“It’s been a real privilege for me to watch his career progress, he’s been an investigator from multiple clinical trials through phase one to three”

About the MAHSC Inaugural Lectures

Join us in the series to celebrate MAHSC Honorary Clinical Chairs in Greater Manchester, hear their professional and personal journey, clinical and research areas, plans for the future and share your questions.

The details of the next lecture will be listed on our events calendar in due course.



As an Academic Health Science Centre, MAHSC is designated by NHS England and NHS Improvement and the National Institute for Health and Care Research for demonstrating excellence in health research, heath education and patient care. In April 2020, MAHSC was designated for a further five years until 2025 in recognition of the exceptional and world-leading health research partnership between the Greater Manchester’s NHS and academic organisations.

It brings together The University of ManchesterManchester University NHS Foundation TrustThe Christie NHS Foundation TrustNorthern Care Alliance NHS Foundation Trust, and the Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust to deliver innovation through research domains aligned to Greater Manchester’s areas of research strength and population needs.

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