NCRI’s CTRad celebrated its tenth year anniversary in 2019. To mark the occasion CTRad’s Executive Group identified the top 10 achievements of the initiative over its ten years.
Thanks to CTRad there are more clinical trials involving radiotherapy taking place than ever before in the UK. These trials are investigating advanced technologies and practice-changing techniques that will ultimately benefit patients.
NCRI’s CTRad have pioneered a novel clinical trials proposals review process that has facilitated innovative clinical trial designs and enabled high quality clinical studies to get off the ground and in to the clinic to benefit patients.
Historically there have been no widely accepted methods by which to evaluate the quality of radiation oncology research programmes in the UK. Between 2014 and 2017 NCRI’s CTRad designed and led a pioneering benchmarking exercise to define internationally relevant criteria for measuring the quality of multidisciplinary radiotherapy research programme. This ‘Centres of Excellence’ exercise played a pivotal role in the development of CRUK’s RadNet – a national network of Centres of Excellence in radiotherapy, which was announced in 2018.
» Find out more (NCRI webpage)
Patient and public involvement (PPI) in research has been central to NCRI’s CTRad since its inception and has evolved over the last 10 years with the initiative to become a shining example of how PPI can be truly integrated to add value. Patients, carers and others affected by cancer are involved at all levels of CTRad – from the setting of its strategy to the day-to-day activities of its working groups.
» Hear from a past CTRad Consumer Member (Youtube)
NCRI’s CTRad have successfully collaborated with funders and leading research networks, including, including the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) Global Challenge Network+, to secure funding for high quality radiotherapy research. They have also worked effectively with CRUK and NHS England to achieve the agreement to fund excess treatment costs of stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SABR), leading to the successful funding of a portfolio of cutting edge clinical trials across different cancers.
» Find out more about the STFC Global Challenge Network+ collaboration (NCRI webpage)
Combining radiotherapy with other cancer drugs to enhance their effectiveness is a promising treatment strategy and NCRI’s CTRad has driven forward action to improve research around it. In 2013 NCRI’s CTRad, together with Cancer Research UK’s Centre for Drug Development, set-up the Radiotherapy-Drug Combinations Consortium (RaDCom) to bring the different stakeholders together to make progress in this area. In 2016 it published a landmark consensus paper which has since galvanised the international research community in to action.
» Read more about progress in this area (NCRI webpage)
Radiotherapy as a treatment depends on experts across many disciplines, including: oncologists, physicists, laboratory scientists, radiographers, radiologists, statisticians, trial managers and industry. Together with consumers, NCRI’s CTRad brings these differing research communities together to accelerate radiotherapy research for the benefit of patients.
Anthony Chalmers_MTD workforce
NCRI’s CTRad plays an important role in setting and monitoring the quality control of radiotherapy trials in the UK through the Radiotherapy Trials Quality Assurance (RTTQA) Group. CTRad was instrumental in setting up the Group and continues to provide expertise and support. The RTTQA group is a multidisciplinary network of experts who are centrally coordinated to provide QA programmes for all NIHR CRN portfolio trials that include a radiotherapy component.
» Find out more about the group (NCRI webpage)
Thanks to a £250m investment from the UK government, the NHS Proton Beam Therapy (PBT) centre at The Christie Hospital in Manchester is now treating patients and the second planned facility is due to open at University College London Hospital in 2020. These new facilities are bringing a promising technology to the UK and high-quality research is now needed to support their use across a range of cancers. NCRI’s CTRad is developing a collaborative research strategy around PBT for the UK. One of the studies it has supported (TORPEdO) was funded early in 2019 and is set to be the UK’s first PBT trial.
» Read more about NCRI’s CTRad are developing the UK research strategy for Proton Beam Therapy (NCRI webpage)
NCRI’s CTRad is NCRI’s flagship initiative. Since 2009, CTRad has provided leadership in the national effort to enhance radiotherapy research and has transformed this environment to make the UK a leader in the global effort to improve outcomes for cancer patients through radiotherapy.
» Read more about it here (NCRI webpage)