27th Jan 2023

World-first centre for recurrent head & neck cancer

The world’s first centre specifically designed to help recurrent head and neck cancer patients has been set up at The Royal Marsden.

The aims of the International Centre for Recurrent Head & Neck Caner (IReC) are to accelerate research and improve outcomes for recurrent head and neck cancer patients.

IReC brings together a team of talented clinicians and researchers to create a centre of international excellence and set international standards in the curative treatment, palliation and supportive care of recurrent cancers.

IReC’s objectives are:

  • Define the extent of the problem by creating the UK’s first registry of recurrent head and neck cancer (HNC) patients
  • Capture variations in the management of recurrent HNC
  • Create an ecosystem within The Royal Marsden to offer rapid virtual second opinion
  • Conduct novel research in surgery, radiotherapy, drugs, biomarkers and other treatments for recurrent HNC
  • Develop a national tissue bank to support research
  • Teach and train future academics in the management of recurrent HNC
  • Act as a national focal point for head and neck cancer patients, carers and support groups


The registry of patient, tumour and treatment details for recurrent head and neck cancers is particularly important. Recording demographics, tumour type, treatment, and outcomes will offer vital data for the IReC’s work streams and will help to better direct the allocation of treatment and research resources nationwide.

Work on creating a national tissue bank is well underway as a recurrent HNC Biobank was created at The Royal Marsden almost two years ago.

Meet the team

The centre came about as a result of discussions between myself and colleagues at The Royal Marsden including Prof Vinidh Paleri, who is Director of the new centre; Kevin Harrington, Head of the Division of Radiotherapy and Imaging; Justin Roe, Consultant Speech and Language Therapist; and Catherine Ward, Finance Business Partner.

Scientific leaders of the IReC also include Consultant Clinical Oncologists Shreerang Bhide and Kate Newbold; Dae Kim, Consultant ENT/Head & Neck and Thyroid Surgeon; and Tara Hurley, Senior Research Nurse.

From L to R: Chris Nutting, Catherine Ward, Vinidh Paleri, Justin Roe and Kevin Harrington


The IReC has been made possible thanks to the generous support of The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity, most notably by Charles Wilson and Dr Rowena Olegario, and Keith and Isabelle McDermott.

For more information about Prof Nutting's work please visit the CV page, get in touch or arrange a consultation.