InHANSE Institute of Head and Neck Studies and Education Contact Us

About us

Our motto is "Improving patients' lives through research"

The Institute of Head and Neck Studies and Education (InHANSE) focuses on research of diseases of the head, neck and thyroid, and on the education of health professionals in the field.  

The research encompasses diseases of the nose, mouth, throat, voice box, ear, and related areas such as the skull base, brain and the lungs.  The research covers a wide variety of themes and topics and spans both cancers that affect these areas and non cancerous conditions such as chronic sinusitis and hearing problems.

There are three main themes of research at InHANSE.  These are translational and molecular medicine, clinical effectiveness and trials and quality of life and functional outcomes.

Translational and molecular medicine

These areas of research are the source and pipeline of new developments and treatments.

Molecular medicine involves the understanding of how diseases develop within the cell at a molecule level within those cells.  This knowledge is the first step in developing specific treatments for any disease.

Translational medicine then takes the new understanding of disease and develops further to a point where new treatments can be used in patients within clinical practice.    Within this theme there are several areas of research at InHANSE, which include:

Biomarkers and risk stratification - This area of research looks at identifying markers that can be used to predict the response of patients to certain treatments or to predict whether a person will go on to have a certain type of cancer.   These markers are usually either proteins or gene-based molecules within the cells.  These markers are then developed to become tests that are used in routine clinical practice.

Immunology and immunotherapy – This area of research examines the role of the immune system in fighting cancer, and the ways cancers evade the immune response. Understanding these mechanisms allows us to develop drugs that harness the body's immune system to get rid of the cancer.

Genetics and genomics – This area of research uses the great advances in our knowledge of the human genome over the past decade to understand how the cancer's genetic make-up determines the way it behaves, and how we can use this knowledge to stop the cancer growing and spreading.

New drug development and evaluation - This area of research uses an understanding of new mechanisms of action of disease to develop specific drugs that can help improve the treatment of our patients.  These drugs then are tested within a variety of conditions  and disease models to ensure that they are effective against the condition that they target.  They then undergo clinical trials in humans, called "first-in- man" or "early drug development" trials, which are done under very strict supervision and conditions.

Drug redeployment -This area of research looks at drugs that are currently in use and licensed for specific conditions, and examines whether they may be effective in other related or separate conditions.  For example, metformin which is a diabetic drug is now thought to have activity against certain types of cancer.  

As part of this programme, we have developed a specific platform called the AcceleraTED platform to help screen for these licensed drugs and to help speed up the introduction of new and existing drugs into the cancer field.

Clinical Effectiveness and Trials
Research in this field looks at how well current and new treatments work, and how effective diagnostic tests are when used in clinical practice.  
The main areas of research in this theme are:

  • Early phase clinical trials - these are studies of new treatments to test how safe they are and to identify the best dose to use. 
  • Late phase clinical trials - these are usually large studies that look at how well a particular treatment works or how good a diagnostic test is in clinical practice.  
  • Systematic reviews and meta analyses - this area of research uses advanced statistics to look at all the information that has been published on a specific research topic, and put them together (synthesises them) to answer specific research questions and to make recommendations about diagnosis and treatment of particular diseases.
  • Health economic analyses - this area of research looks at how cost effective a diagnostic test or treatment is when applied to the NHS or other health systems.
  • Development, Evaluation and Implementation of Medical Devices in Clinical Practice in ENT  (DEvICE) - this platform has been set up to accelerate the development, assessment and implementation of new medical devices in surgical practice within our field.


Quality of life, functional and other patient reported outcomes
This theme looks at the effects of treatment on patient's quality of life and on their day-to-day function, such as breathing, swallowing, hearing or speech.

The areas of research in this theme include:

  • Identification of the tools used to assess quality of life - This area of research looks at the ways we can examine and assess patients' quality of life and function before and after treatment.  In this field, we try to find out from patients which assessment tools most accurately reflect their concerns and which tools they most prefer to use.
  • Incorporating quality of life assessment in routine clinical practice - This field of research looks at ways in which we can incorporate the assessment of quality of life and function in routine clinical practice, how we can increase the number of patients being assessed and the number of clinicians who are willing to assess quality of life and other patient reported outcomes within routine clinical practice.
  • Interventions to improve quality of life and function - This field of research aims to develop and evaluate ways of improving patients' quality of life and function following treatments.  These interventions range from giving of simple advice following treatment to specialised exercises for speech and swallowing, and to formal cognitive behavioural therapy.






Charity appeal

Find out more about our £1m Charity appeal for the AcceleraTED cancer Treatment programme.