Leadership transition

  • After three years in the role, Neil Burnet passed on the CTRad Chairmanship to Anthony Chalmers on 18 April 2016 at the Executive Group face-to-face meeting in London, and David Sebag-Montefiore also officially took up his role as Deputy Chair of CTRad. We are thankful for the time and energy Neil Burnet has put into the Chairman role in the past three years.
  • To announce Anthony as the Chair of CTRad, the NCRI Newsletter caught up with him in a 60-second interview and you can read it here: bit.ly/CTRad60SecAC.
  • Nicola Curtin (Newcaslte) has been appointed as scientific co-chair of WS1 after the latest competitive recruitment process. We are thankful for Kaye Williams’ enthusiasm and contribution as the WS1 cochair in the past 5 years.
  • There has also been a series of re-appointments. Ricky Sharma (WS2) and Emma Hall (WS3) have both been re-appointed as co-chairs in their WS, and Helen Bulbeck has been re-appointed as a consumer member on Workstream 1 and the Executive Group.
  • The latest list of workstream co-chairs and members can be found on the CTRad website ctrad.ncri.org.uk/about-ctrad/leadership-and-members.

Promoting Molecular Radiotherapy research in the UK

  • Molecular Radiotherapy (MRT) has considerable potential to benefit patients, and could provide further scope for improved patient outcomes; however, research in MRT has lagged behind that of other cancer therapies in previous decades.
  • To help assess the needs and opportunities in UK MRT research, CTRad’s Radiotherapy Technology Project Manager, Fiona McKirdy, consulted with the UK MRT community to ascertain the range of research activity and the barriers preventing progress. The feedback identified opportunities for improvement as well as a number of barriers and challenges. The report encompasses three strategic priorities and provides a number of recommendations for each that will promote progress in MRT research. You can download the report here: bit.ly/CTRadMRTreport.
  • CTRad will be looking to organise a meeting with MRT stakeholders to discuss taking the recommendations forward in a few months’ time. If you are interested in getting involved please get in touch and we will keep you in the loop.

Consensus for clinical development of new drug-radiotherapy combinations

  • A CTRad Working Group, consisting of 40 members from industry, academia, patient and regulatory representatives and led by Ricky Sharma (WS2), has published a landmark paper in Nature Reviews Clinical Oncology setting out eight workpackages / consensus recommendations to increase the number of novel drugs being successfully used in combination with radiotherapy to improve clinical
    outcomes for patients with cancer. The aim was to identify both barriers and solutions to design realistic registration strategies for these combinations.
  • The consensus recommendations are the first ever to be published on this topic that represent a broad base of expert opinion, spanning academia and industry. The paper also calls for the early engagement of industry with academia, as well as engaging regulatory bodies early in the development process.
  • You can read more about it on the NCRI blog post and also download the paper here: bit.ly/CTRad_NRCOconsensus

CTRad proposals guidance meeting, June 2016

  • CTRad held its 12th proposals guidance meeting in London. In response to recent discussion about innovative trials design, Lenny Verkooijen (University Medical Center Utrecht) was invited to speak on the R-IDEAL trial framework, which is a multi-stage systematic clinical innovation evaluation process, and will be used for evaluating the upcoming MR-linac technology.
  • The morning also saw 12 radiotherapy proposal ideas, ranging from very early ideas to those ready for funding, discussed in three breakout groups. We were delighted to see new researchers presenting their proposals and receiving feedback.
  • Members of individual Workstreams then met face-to-face in the afternoon, in particular to discuss objectives and deliverables for the coming few years.
  • The next proposals guidance meeting will be on 9 November after the NCRI Conference in Liverpool, and deadline for submitting proposal ideas will be in mid-September. More details will be available on the CTRad website in July: ctrad.ncri.org.uk/research-support/proposals-guidance-meetings.
  • If you require offline advice on a proposal at any time of the year, you can access the radiotherapy clinical trials advisory service (RADCAS). Find out more from the CTRad website: ctrad.ncri.org.uk/research-support/trial-development-service-radcas.

Involving consumers in your research

  • Consumer members are an integral part of radiotherapy trial development. CTRad has a group of highly experienced consumer members who are willing to provide advice to help researchers develop their proposals and patient information sheets, leading to better treatments for cancer patients. If you need more information about incorporating consumer involvement in your work, you can find out more from the CTRad website: ctrad.ncri.org.uk/research-support/patient-and-public-involvement.
  • The NCRI Consumer Forum is organising a ‘Dragon’s Den’ session at the upcoming NCRI Cancer Conference in Liverpool, where a small panel of patients and carers experienced in cancer research will offer feedback for proposed research projects. This open meeting takes place during the lunchtime of Monday 7 November in the Conference venue; more details will be on the NCRI Conference website in due course: conference.ncri.org.uk.

Forthcoming activities

  • Clinical Trials Workshop, 31 October 2016: In conjunction with the Royal College of Radiologists (RCR), the highly popular Clinical Trials workshop will next be held at the RCR’s premises in London at the end of October. This workshop aims to educate early investigators about developing clinical trials from concept to delivery. Registration details will be available on the CTRad website soon.

CTRad members’ news

  • Congratulations to Ricky Sharma (WS2) who has been appointed Professor of Radiation Oncology at University College London.

The 12th NCRI Cancer Conference, Liverpool, 6–9 November 2016

  • Now in its 12th year, the NCRI Cancer Conference is the UK’s largest annual cancer research meeting. It provides a forum for multidisciplinary researchers to keep pace with new advances across the globe, and to share results of their own work. There will again be a special day of radiotherapythemed sessions on Tuesday 8 November, including a plenary on “Radiobiology and prostate cancer”, a symposium on the topic of technical radiotherapy and a parallel session on drug-radiotherapy combinations.
  • Late breaking abstract submission opens on 1 August, and standard registration is open until 30 September. More details can be found on conference.ncri.org.uk.