Opportunities to change clinical practice by combining new drugs with radiotherapy workshop, September 2015

  • This workshop, organised by Ricky Sharma, Ruth Plummer, Ozlem Ataman and Stephen Kelly (all WS2), is a follow-up to last year’s Route to Registration in Radiotherapy workshop. The aim this year is to develop consensus statements on how best to increase the number of novel agents being registered in combination with radiotherapy, to be published in Nature Reviews Clinical Oncology. The 40 attendees included clinicians, academics, and industrial, patient and regulatory representatives.
  • The morning started with some examples of successful combinations, but also highlighted recent high profile negative results and the need for improvements in trial design and engagement with industry. Delegates then worked in small groups on eight different components of the position paper, rotating to a different topic every 15 minutes. The ideas were fed back to the wider group by each group’s facilitator after lunch, followed by an overview of CTRad from Anthony Chalmers and a talk from Daniel O’Connor, an Expert Medical Assessor, on the perspective from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
  • In the next few months, the workshop organisers will work with delegates to finalise the text of the consensus statements and anticipate publishing the position paper in Q1 2016. A workshop report will be available on the CTRad website shortly.
  • A key message from the day was that academia and pharma will work together to accelerate progress in this field, actively engaging with regulatory agencies.
  • Many delegates thought working in the small groups on 15-minute rotations were quite intensive, nevertheless a very productive and fruitful experience. There was plenty of time for networking and delegates enjoyed the chance to contribute to an important position paper.
  • If you have ideas for drug-radiation combinations projects, or you would like to offer expertise and/or facilities, you can contact the Radiation-Drug Combinations Consortium (RaDCom) project manager Julie Stock (julie.stock@cancer.org.uk), or find out more on the CTRad website: ctrad.ncri.org.uk/research-support/radiation-drug-combinations-radcom

Consumer members’ proton beam therapy education day, August 2015

  • CTRad consumers had a fabulous education day at the Christie Hospital in Manchester, specifically to learn about proton beam therapy (PBT). The day was also attended by an NCRI Clinical Studies Group consumer member and a lay representative from the Royal College of Radiologists (RCR), and four members of the NCRI Executive.
  • The aim of the day was to help attendees, mainly consumer members, understand the concepts of this emerging therapy so that they can effectively participate and contribute in upcoming research agenda discussions as part of CTRad.
  • The day started with Ed Smith presenting details of the planned PBT service that will be delivered within a networked NHS, the patient pathway, and current and potential clinical applications and late effects of the treatment. Ran Mackay (WS4) then provided a perspective from medical physics, explaining the concepts of PBT treatment comparing it with routine radiotherapy. Throughout the day Karen Kirkby (WS4) chaired short discussions to help answer attendees’ questions.
  • After lunch, there was a tour of the PBT construction site, and attendees met with the site manager who showed a short video illustrating the building work advancing from week to week though to 2018 when the building will come into service. The day drew to a close with a talk by Alan McWilliams about magnetic resonance linear accelerators (MR-Linac) technology which is coming to the UK soon.
  • All the attendees found the day extremely useful and interesting. They are very grateful for the speakers giving up their time to talk to and meet with the group.
  • 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-andpublic-involvement.

STFC Global Challenge Network+ in Advanced Radiotherapy

  • A new Global Challenge Network+ in Advanced Radiotherapy has been funded by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC). Led by Karen Kirkby (WS4), this new Network brings together the STFC community with the radiotherapy community in synergy with CTRad.
  • The aim of this Network is to foster and develop multidisciplinary working to bring science to bear on challenges in radiotherapy. The Network will approach this through: identifying future grand challenge ideas through a series of town meetings, using sandpit workshops to stimulate and pump-prime collaborative research, and training the next generation of researchers by funding a number of cross-disciplinary PhD opportunities.
  • This new Network will build on and make use of STFC’s current resources and expertise such as areas in particle physics and accelerator science, to develop more healthcare solutions and industrial applications, and to contribute to a coordinated national radiotherapy research agenda. Through our members involved in the Network, CTRad will work closely with the Network in all its facets, including to provide links to people with appropriate expertise.