The NCRI Pathology Group has published its strategic priorities to change the way pathologists engage with, conduct and are recognised for their work in clinical trials.

The NCRI Pathology Group has identified its strategic priorities based on feedback from the three-year review in March 2019 and further suggestions from a meeting with the NCRI Strategy Advisory Group in 2020.

The priorities identified by the group are as follows:

  • Identify the challenges of providing cellular and molecular pathology and laboratory medicine support for research in all cancer types and establish a consensus on ‘next generation’ pathology
  • Develop guidelines on reporting of trials (CONSORT-Path)
  • Develop a code of practice to maximise the value extracted from clinical samples
  • Support the development of a research-ready workforce
  • Maximise the value and utilisation of pathology images from UK clinical trials by computational methods
  • Establish a costing template for cellular and molecular pathology activity in clinical trials in the UK
  • Promote the development of laboratory medicine diagnostics that can be incorporated into established NHS laboratory medicine working practises

NCRI Pathology Group strategic priorities

Working groups addressing each specific strategic priority are currently being formed. These groups will be made up of the experts needed to address each research question.

We have moved rapidly towards an era of personalised medicine in cancer where the presence of specific genetic mutations or dysregulated pathways help define which patients may benefit most from treatments targeting those pathways. Consequently, the information needed from a tissue sample to guide treatment or assess suitability for clinical trials has moved beyond simply a morphological diagnosis.

Dr Tim Kendall, Chair of NCRI Pathology Group

The establishment of the NCRI Networks will allow the groups to benefit from a multidisciplinary network of skills and expertise to deliver focused activities against key priorities with specific tangible outcomes.

We are seeking to define a pathology approach suitable for clinical trials to maximise the value of clinical samples, next-generation pathology for precision medicine, and create a workforce able to undertake clinical trial work and translate research into clinical practice. A core priority of the NCRI Pathology Group is to enhance the value of cellular and molecular pathology activity in clinical trials by providing specialist support for pre-submission proposal guidance meetings. This will build on the previous work of the Clinical Trials Pathology Advisory Group (CTPAG), a function which has helped inform ways of working and has now been centrally adopted across the NCRI Groups and their associated networks.

Dr Tim Kendall, Chair of NCRI Pathology Group