David Sebag-Montefiore is an academic clinical oncologist at the University of Leeds and an honorary Clinical Oncologist at the Leeds Cancer Centre.
David leads a portfolio of practice changing and innovative clinical trials focusing on gastrointestinal cancer with a focus on rectal and anal cancer, and in May was awarded the Royal College of Radiologists’ Gold Medal in recognition for his outstanding contribution in the field of Clinical Oncology nationally and internationally. David takes the reigns as CTRad’s Chair after three years as Deputy Chair, here he tells us what he thinks is the most exciting development in radiotherapy research at present, and what he is most looking forward to for the next few years of CTRad.
How/why did you get into clinical oncology?
My surgical house jobs provided key insights into breast and urological cancers. I saw high quality multidisciplinary management in action including joint ward rounds between surgeons and clinical oncology! A major positive step forward was the increasing use of breast conserving surgery achieved by the use of adjuvant breast radiotherapy.
What are you working on right now?
A clinical trial in patients with newly diagnosed rectal cancer, called ARTEMIS. We will evaluate novel agents combined with radiotherapy and determine their ability to eradicate the cancer and avoid the need for radical surgery. We should know by the end of this year if the trial will be funded.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
It is all about people. I really enjoy working as a team and have learnt that the best science comes through collaboration. I am also passionate about helping the development and mentorship of the next generation of clinicians and researchers – this is so important for the future success of our specialty.
What do you consider to be the most exciting development in radiotherapy research at present?
Good question! I think, for me, it is the opportunity to combine novel agents with radiotherapy. We now have much better preclinical evidence providing the scientific rationale to select novel agents to combine with radiotherapy. We must now deliver the high quality clinical trials that will efficiently tell us if we will see a ‘step change’ improvement in outcome.
What are you most looking forward to in the next few years of CTRad?
We have started to work on our strategy from 2021 onwards! This visionary approach is essential to ensure that we maximize research opportunities across the full range of funders. CTRad exists to support the whole UK radiotherapy research community and it is a privilege to work with the CTRad Executive, Workstream, and General members to achieve our goals.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
Finding the best restaurants before they get their Michelin Star!
Following a little white ball wherever it takes me, preferably by the sea.
Where in the world would you most like to visit?
Wherever I can get to see the Northern Lights.