Edinburgh Cancer Research

Ahsan Akram (Affiliate)

Imaging in Lung Cancer for treatment stratification

Ahsan Akram
Dr Ahsan Akram - Cancer Research UK Clinician Scientist Fellow and Honorary Consultant in Respiratory Medicine

Research in a Nutshell

Lung Cancer remains the leading cause of cancer related death worldwide with an extremely poor 5-year survival. Recently, immunotherapy treatments have shown efficacy in refractory NCSLC, but only in a small proportion of patients with failure of therapy in the majority. My work focuses on a subtype of cancer associated fibroblasts (CAFs) which express fibroblast activation protein (FAP+CAFs) in the tumour microenvironment. There is growing pre-clinical evidence these cells are responsible for immunotherapy failure. 

I will utilise primary lung cancer specimens to characterise the fibroblast populations and assess their phenotype and role in immunotherapy failure, alongside targeted pharmacotherapy in pre-clinical models. I will also develop imaging strategies, both whole body approaches with PET imaging and high resolution optical imaging to ultimately understand the stromal response in patients during therapy. I hope that in the future these novel translational imaging approaches have the potential to stratify patients for tailored cancer immunotherapy (+/-companion therapeutics).

I also welcome potential collaborations and students.

Research Programme: Fibroblast Activation Protein Expressing Cancer Associated Fibroblasts from Lung Cancer As Imaging Biomarkers For Immunotherapy Stratification.



Ahsan Akram  Programme Leader




Cancer Research Collaborations

  • Professor Margaret Frame, University of Edinburgh 
  • Professor Kev Dhaliwal, University of Edinburgh 
  • Professor Mark Bradley, University of Edinburgh

Partners and Funders (current)

  • Cancer Research UK (Clinician Scientist Fellowship, Dec 2017-Dec 2022.)
  • Wellcome Trust

Scientific Themes

Optical imaging, Molecular imaging, Immunotherapy failure, stromal response in lung cancer

Technology expertise

Novel in vivo optical imaging technologies, New PET tracers, Cancer immunotherapy stratification based on imaging parameters