The NCRI Brain Group developed their three-year strategy in December 2021 to address challenges faced in brain tumour research and to ultimately improve outcomes for brain tumour patients with currently unmet needs.

NCRI Brain Group Strategic Priorities 2021-2024

Produce and publish a position paper on the challenges faced in brain tumour research and proposed solutions, including a summary of the achievements from the previous 5- year strategy.  

By addressing this priority, we aim to establish a joint consensus on the future of brain cancer research across the UK, with a focus on collaboration as opposed to competition. Greater collaboration will ultimately result in higher quality multicentre studies. The position paper will focus on ensuring that PPI, core outcome measures and neuroimaging are embedded within all studies from inception to delivery.  

Develop a window of opportunity study, early-phase trial or basket study for glioblastoma patients utilising targeted agents, immunotherapy and/or drug-RT combinations. 

By addressing this priority, we aim to work towards converting discovery science into patient benefit. This will include prioritising early evaluation of translational discoveries in patients and developing agile studies that can rapidly move into larger Phase III effectiveness trials.  

Develop an innovative research trial to improve outcomes for brain tumour patients with unmet needs. 

This priority aims to improve outcomes for patients with tumours of unmet need by focusing on developing trials that provide direct patient benefit, as opposed to recruiting these patients into safety trials for new drugs.  

This Working Group will design a study for recurrent glioblastoma patients that will define the relative roles of surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy and palliative care and will consider innovative study design, tissue biobanking, tumour sequencing and combination therapies.  

Improve outcomes for elderly or frail patients, patients with poor prognosis and patients who are ineligible for active oncological treatment.

This priority aims to improve outcomes for patients with poor prognosis by developing a better understanding of brain tumours. This Working Group could focus on developing a biorepository to better understand the disease as well as exploring patient and carer priorities.  

Build and strengthen links with international groups and prioritise opening international studies for UK patients with rarer brain tumours.

This priority aims to expand our network to develop a truly collegiate brain research consortium, and ultimately help patients with rarer brain tumours. This priority will be embedded within the strategy of the main Group, who will focus on building proactive links with international groups such as IRCI, CERN, EORTC and SIOP, as well as developing UK-initiated studies in some rarer brain tumours such as clinically aggressive meningioma.  

Support and provide guidance for a broad range of research proposals across the brain cancer community via regular Proposal Guidance meetings.

This priority aims to engage with and support the wider brain cancer research community by reviewing proposals relating to a breadth of tumour types and providing expert feedback. Proposal Guidance meetings will allow the Group broad oversight of the research portfolio to enable the identification of areas of unmet need to focus on. This priority is embedded within the strategy of the main Group who will ensure Proposal Guidance meetings take place as needed.