CTRad-RCR Sandpit Day, March 2015

  • CTRad, in conjunction with the Royal College of Radiologists (RCR), organised a ‘Sandpit’ day, an intensive trial development workshop, to help clinical oncologists and senior trainees develop their own radiotherapy (RT) trials. The Faculty comprised an experienced team of clinical oncologists, trial managers, consumer members and statisticians/methodologists.
  • The day was divided into three ‘sandpit’ sessions with specific tasks, two plenary lectures, plus plenty of networking time.
  • In the morning ‘sandpits’, the delegates presented their original RT trial ideas to one of three sandpit groups, a discussion was then led by the group’s facilitator about the scope to develop each trial idea further; each group then chose one proposal to be developed further,
    including its feasibility and possible funding routes.
  • After lunch, two informative and inspiring plenary lecturers were delivered by Cindy Billingham on trial design, and Helen Bulbeck on consumer involvement.
  • A total of 11 proposals were submitted for this Sandpit Day. Before the close of the workshop, one of these proposals was awarded a prize for being both the most innovative and the most developed throughout the day. The prize was awarded to Matthew Williams from Imperial College.
  • Delegates appreciated the chance to network with a variety of experts throughout the day; many also thought it was useful and interesting to hear about research being done at other centres. Being immersed within a group to develop a trial provided delegates with a deeper understanding of what else needs to be done for their own trials.
  • CTRad anticipates running a series of trial development and educational workshops to help investigators develop their own trials. The process starts with equipping researchers with the fundaments of trial design and development through the Clinical Trials workshops (which are more lecture-based), to be followed by the Sandpit Day for working up trials at the individual level with the aim for the trials to be discussed at one of CTRad’s Proposals Guidance Meetings, and subsequently submitted and approved for funding.
  • The next Clinical Trials workshop will be on 14 October in Leeds and more details will be on the CTRad and RCR websites soon.

CTRad CRUK Grand Challenge idea scoping workshop, February 2015

  • In light of CRUK’s announcement of a Grand Challenge funding, CTRad organised an idea scoping workshop in February to discuss ideas that might be appropriate for the Grand Challenge. The workshop also aimed to bring people together as a community and to foster possible smaller projects or programme collaborative proposals.
  • More than forty members of CTRad and research colleagues from the community attended the workshop. Delegates participated in two of the five breakout discussion groups, with topics spanning the spectrum of radiotherapy research as well as cross-cutting themes such as interfacing with surgery.
  • In the afternoon the delegates gathered in the main room to synthesise and distil the discussion into two key ideas.
  • Discussions throughout the day were animated, collaborative and wide-ranging. CTRad hopes CRUK would have at least one radiotherapy-themed idea on their shortlist of ideas.
  • Key points from the five discussion groups and the two key ideas to be fed back to CRUK can be found in a more detailed report, which is on the CTRad website’s report page under the ‘2015’ list: ctrad.ncri.org.uk/resources/reports-and-tumour-site-reviews

Molecular radiotherapy and proton beam therapy research making progress

  • As part of CTRad’s review of activities from October last year, the CTRad Executive Group outlined a vision for 2015-2018 and two areas of focus included were molecular radiotherapy (MRT) and proton beam therapy (PBT) research.
  • With support from a newly appointed NCRI Radiotherapy Technology Project Manager, Fiona McKirdy, CTRad is now conducting a national review of the MRT field, to better understand the barriers to performing high quality MRT research and seek ways to accelerate progress.
  • Fiona will also support the development of PBT research by starting national conversations and leading topic development through workshops, to take the research agenda forward.
  • One workshop has been planned for April, with more to be organised for later in the year.

Calling for radiotherapy proposal ideas for the June 2015 proposals guidance meeting

  • CTRad is calling for radiotherapy proposal ideas to be presented for feedback from CTRad members at the next proposals guidance meeting on 15 June 2015 in London. PBT study ideas would be especially welcome, as CTRad is keen to support development of PBT studies ahead of its introduction, so that research features alongside clinical practice from the outset.
  • Deadline for submission of proposal ideas is 4pm on Wednesday 22 April 2015. To submit proposal ideas, please fill in the template which can be downloaded from the CTRad website: ctrad.ncri.org.uk/news-and-events/whats-new
  • If you are unable to make the deadline or require offline advice on your proposal at any time of the year, you can access the RADCAS service. Find out more from the CTRad website: ctrad.ncri.org.uk/research-support/trial-development-service-radcas