The NIHR is the nation's largest funder of health and care research and provides the people, facilities and technology that enable research to thrive. We work in partnership with the NHS, universities, local government, other research funders (including industry and charities), patients and the public to improve the health and wealth of the nation.
In 2017-18, the NIHR spent more than £31.5 million on research studies into cancer. The NIHR Clinical Research Network supported 1,287 studies on cancer, 406 of which were new studies, and recruited 98,110 patients to studies last year (2019/20).
The NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) supports patients, the public and health and care organisations across England to participate in high-quality research. The CRN Portfolio comprises clinical research studies that are eligible for support from the CRN in England.
The NIHR CRN Cancer Portfolio is divided into 13 disease specific subspecialty areas, and six cross cutting national priority areas to help drive research across all stages of disease and treatment pathway. The national priority areas are detailed below.
Professor Matt Seymour leads the CRN Cancer Specialty, in collaboration with the National Specialty Lead of each priority area. Their role is to provide the CRN with strategic and clinical leadership.
The NIHR CRN is made up of 15 Local Clinical Research Networks that cover the length and breadth of England. Each one has a nominated local lead for each cancer subspecialty and most national priority areas, who promotes and supports this research in their local NHS Trusts.
The leads and chair for each subspecialty and national priority area regularly review the progress of studies in their portfolio, identifying barriers to recruitment and coming up with solutions and strategies to help overcome those barriers. The groups actively engage with funders of research and other stakeholders to help ensure that there is a continuous pipeline of high quality research studies and the capacity to deliver these successfully in the NHS. They are also called upon as key opinion leaders to provide expert advice on the development and delivery of studies.
The Network also offers the Cancer trials Pharmacy Advisory Service (CPAS) to help clinical trials on the Cancer Portfolio run as smoothly and quickly as possible.
The NIHR provides support and facilities for first-class research by funding a range of research infrastructure. Our infrastructure supports research funded by the NIHR and by charities, the research councils and the life sciences industry. If you are interested in accessing or collaborating with NIHR infrastructure, please contact the NIHR Office for Clinical Research Infrastructure email@example.com
Late phase trials aim to test whether a new treatment is better than an existing treatment.
The Cancer Research UK (CRUK) website has information about the different phases of clinical trials.
Late Phase and International Trials form the largest area of the NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) Cancer Portfolio and include some of the most diverse and complex trials delivered by the NIHR.
Dr Pippa Corrie is the NIHR CRN National Specialty Lead for Late Phase and International Trials and the local lead for CRN Eastern. She also Chairs the CRN Cancer Specialty Group. If you would like to get in touch with the Cancer Specialty Group please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Early phase trials look at whether a drug or treatment is safe and tolerable and may provide early evidence of anticancer effects.
The Cancer Research UK (CRUK) website has information about the different phases of clinical trials.
Early Phase Trials form the second largest area of the NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) Cancer Portfolio.
Professor Sarah Danson is the NIHR CRN National Specialty Lead for Early Phase Cancer Research and chairs the Early Phase Leads Group. The main aim of this role is to improve equity of access to early phase trials. If you would like to get in touch with the Early Phase Leads Group please contact email@example.com
The NIHR funds 14 Experimental Cancer Medicine Centres across England in close partnership with Cancer Research UK. ECMCs act as an efficient and effective UK-wide network for delivering pioneering, early-phase cancer trials, bringing together world-leading laboratory and clinical researchers to test new treatments for adults and children with cancer.
NIHR Biomedical Research Centres (BRCs), partnerships between England’s leading NHS organisations and universities, bring together academics and clinicians to translate lab-based scientific breakthroughs into potential new treatments, diagnostics and medical technologies. The following BRCs undertake cancer research:
NIHR Clinical Research Facilities (CRFs) are purpose built facilities in NHS hospitals where researchers can deliver early-phase and complex studies. The following CRFs undertake cancer research:
There are a number of Clinical Trial Units that have experience and expertise with early phase trials.
Much of the innovation in cancer treatment comes from radiotherapy research.
This area of the NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) Cancer Portfolio is characterised by technological advances such as intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT), image guided radiotherapy (IGRT), stereotactic body ablative radiotherapy (SABR) and of course the newest addition Proton Beam Therapy.
Professor Jonathan Wadsley is the NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) National Specialty Lead for Cancer Radiotherapy and Imaging Research. He also chairs the Radiotherapy and Imaging Leads Group. If you would like to get in touch with the Radiotherapy and Imaging Leads Group please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
In 2019, the NIHR conducted a scoping exercise to understand the variations in cost attribution associated with RECIST reporting. Following on from the scoping exercise a consensus statement has been developed which details that RECIST reporting is a research cost.
In 2010, the Department of Health and Social Care agreed that clinical trial QA is over and above routine QA, and therefore should be defined as an NHS service support cost and funded through local CRN funding. A consensus statement will be available in October.
Surgical oncology is vital in improving outcomes. Surgical technologies advance rapidly with a new era of diagnostics, robotic surgery, minimal access techniques, pre-optimisation and enhanced recovery. These innovations need proper evaluation in clinical trials to demonstrate which are clinically beneficial and cost-effective. Additionally, surgeons are often central in recruitment to the wider portfolio of multidisciplinary cancer trials. For example, surgeons are needed to help lead and recruit to window-of-opportunity studies and to assist in procurement of biospecimens for translational studies.
The NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) has a number of key initiatives which aim to encourage recruitment to surgical oncology trials.
Professor Richard Shaw is the NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) National Specialty Lead for Surgical Oncology.
The success of treating children with cancer has very much relied on their access to novel treatments through clinical trials but there is still much to be done in particular age groups. Cancer registration in the United Kingdom for children is from birth to 14 years (i.e. before 15th birthday) and for teenagers and young adults (TYA) is from 15 years to 25 years.
Currently for 0-14 year olds recruitment to clinical studies far exceeds the incidence of cancer in this age-group because some children participate in more than one clinical study during the course of their treatment. With our Teenage and Young Adult Cancer Strategy detailed below we hope to achieve the same for the 15-25 age range.
The Children and Young People's Cancer subspecialty of the NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) Cancer Portfolio spans the 0-25 age range. This subspecialty is characterised by initiatives to increase accessibility to new drugs for paediatric cancer patients and understand how to increase research opportunities for Teenage and Young Adult cancer patients. It is the smallest area of the Cancer Portfolio.
Dr Amos Burke is the NIHR CRN National Specialty Lead for Children and Young People’s Cancer. Dr Burke chairs the CYP Cancer Leads Group. If you would like to get in touch with the CYP Cancer Leads Group, please contact email@example.com
Supportive and community-based research refers to a broad range of end of life, palliative care and primary care across different disease groups (although the focus here is cancer) and settings such as hospices, homes and pharmacies.
The NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) supports cancer research in supportive care and community settings such as hospices. In the last four years 65 hospices across the UK have been research active. The hospices have:
The number of research active hospices is drawn from the NIHR Central Portfolio Management System. These hospices have recruited people into NIHR CRN Portfolio studies between April 2015 to March 2018.
Due to local recruitment accrual and governance processes, recruitment of participants from hospice sites may have been attributed to the local NHS trust that provided research and development approval. It is therefore likely that the number of hospices recruiting to NIHR CRN Portfolio studies is higher.
Professor Sam Ahmedzai is the NIHR CRN National Specialty Lead for Supportive Care and Community-based Research which includes hospice and end of life care research. He also chairs the Supportive Care and Community-based Research Leads Group. If you would like to get in touch with the Supportive Care and Community-based Research Leads Group, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
The Consortium was launched in 2017 to bring together the NIHR CRN and many of the wide range of UK charities which are involved in supportive and palliative care, hospice and community care. Although it is the CRN Cancer Speciality that supports the Consortium, our scope extends beyond cancer research. The aim of the Consortium is to ensure that the UK becomes a global leader in the area of supportive and palliative care, hospice and community research by 2022.
If you or your organisation is interested in joining the Consortium please contact the Consortium Manager email@example.com