CTRad moving into new phase of funding and welcoming new members

  • CTRad has now embarked on its fourth phase of funding. We are very grateful to the seven NCRI Partners supporting and funding this highly successful initiative: Cancer Research UK, Medical Research Council (MRC), Chief Scientist Office (Scotland), Health and Care Research (Wales), HSC R&D (Northern Ireland), Breast Cancer Now and Prostate Cancer UK.
  • As we start this new and exciting phase of funding, we are also changing the structure of CTRad and welcoming new Workstream and General members. A list of the new members can be found on the CTRad website: ctrad.ncri.org.uk
  • We would also like to thank those Workstream members who have recently rotated off; we greatly appreciate their participation and contributions to CTRad over the past few years.
  • In the coming weeks the NCRI website will be posting blog posts and case studies to highlight the progress and impact of CTRad. Read the first blog post ‘CTRad: moving boldly into the new phase 2018-2021’ here: bit.ly/CTRad_nextphaseblog
  • CTRad will be holding a re-launch meeting on 5 July in London to welcome and introduce new members and discuss how we will deliver our strategic vision 2018-
    2021. You can learn more about the strategic vision here: bit.ly/CTRad_vision2018-2021

UK representation at the FDA-AACR-ASTRO ‘Clinical Development of Drug-radiotherapy Combinations’ workshop in Bethesda, USA, Feb 2018

  • The landmark consensus paper published by CTRad in Nature Reviews Clinical Oncology in 2016, which set out recommendations for increasing the number of novel drugs being successfully used in combination with radiotherapy, opened up fruitful discussions with UK and European regulators. It also captured the attention of regulatory agencies worldwide, who are seeking to improve their guidelines in the area of radiotherapy-drug trials. A crucial outcome was the FDAAACR-ASTRO ‘Clinical Development of Drug-radiotherapy Combinations workshop’ which was held in Bethesda, USA in February 2018.
  • From the UK, Ricky Sharma (WS2 co-chair), Helen Bulbeck (WS1), Richard Baird (WS2), Kaye Williams (RaDCom Chair), Tim Illidge (Ex-officio) and Ester Hammond participated in the workshop and shared insights, expertise and learnings to further this work with international colleagues.
  • Ricky, who has led this initiative, comments that the CTRad consensus paper has broadened and helped catalyse important discussions with the international community; the FDA, AACR and ASTRO workshop was an important step in bringing all interested parties together to develop appropriate regulatory guidelines for drug-radiotherapy combination studies. The UK is now leading much of this work internationally, and Ricky is hoping to organise a follow-up meeting to the consensus paper in 2020.

MRC radiotherapy & radiobiology funding educational workshop, Feb 2018

  • CTRad, together with programme managers from the MRC, organised a funding workshop specific to the radiotherapy research field. This ‘first of its kind’ workshop aimed at helping to promote understanding of funding streams suitable for radiotherapy researchers and to improve the communication between researchers and funding organisations.
  • For the MRC, this was particularly timely as it coincided with their new Radiation Biology and Oncology Board Opportunity which seeks to encourage a wider range of applications in this area.
  • Delegates heard from current MRC grant holders in radiotherapy research about their journeys to successful grant applications, and also participated in breakout groups to discuss potential radiotherapy-related projects.
  • Mariana Delfino-Machin, MRC’s Programme Manager for Cancer, felt the workshop gave them an opportunity to engage directly with researchers that have specific interests and needs, and to respond to queries and concerns in a more comprehensive and targeted way. Events such as these also help them keep abreast with the latest developments within their research patches.
  • The workshop was attended by around 50 delegates with an interest in radiotherapy research, including clinicians, clinical researchers, scientists, physicists, consumer members and radiographers. Delegate feedback on the workshop was very positive; they felt that the workshop was very helpful and informative and that it was a great platform for enhancing two-way communication between researcher and funder so that funders can devise funding streams to fit with the evolving needs of the community, while researchers can be kept up to speed with what’s required of those funding streams.
  • CTRad is currently looking into running a similar workshop with other funders of radiotherapy research.

Forthcoming activities

  • Clinical Trials Workshop, 1 Oct 2018: The Royal College of Radiologists (RCR) and CTRad will be jointly organising another Clinical Trials workshop in London in October. The workshop is aimed at early career radiotherapy researchers and will cover areas relating to clinical trial design, funding and setup and the roles and responsibilities of chief investigators. More details about the workshop will be available on the RCR and CTRad websites shortly.