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NHS surgical oncology prize winners announced

Professor Lucy Chappell presenting the award to Arlo Whitehouse from the research team

The Cancer Research Excellence in Surgical Trials (CREST) award was presented to the General Surgery Research Team, Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, at the joint NIHR Clinical Research Network and Royal College of Surgeons of England research event in London, yesterday (16 November 2021).

The award is managed by the NIHR Clinical Research Network and supported by Swann-Morton. Now in its seventh year, the award is presented to the surgical oncology team that has made the greatest contribution in recruitment to the NIHR cancer trials portfolio.

This year the award was presented by Professor Lucy Chappell, Chief Scientific Adviser to the Department of Health and Social Care and Chief Executive Officer of the NIHR.

Mr Dale Vimalachandran, NIHR Clinical Research Network National Specialty Lead for Surgical Oncology said:

“Following a 12-month break due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are delighted to report that this year’s CREST has been awarded to the General Surgery Research Team in Birmingham. Despite the challenges of the pandemic the team have still managed to maintain a large, wide ranging portfolio of studies recruiting a large number of patients to cancer research studies.

“In addition to their impressive portfolio activity, the academic team at Birmingham have also developed and led the international CovidSurg collaborative, which has produced rapid, real time clinical data that has informed how best to manage surgical cancer patients over the last 18-months."

The awards committee were impressed with the number and quality of applications for the award. There were 13 high-quality applications which demonstrated both rapid and dynamic adaptations to the pandemic, along with exemplars of collaborative research efforts.

Mr Vimalachandran said:

"Of particular note were the Gynaecology Oncology Team at the Royal Surrey County Hospital who, through impressive leadership, delivered large in terms of trial recruitment but are also leading the way with robotic gynaecological cancer surgery. It was also great to see widespread collaboration between surgeons, scientists and oncologists in all areas of cancer surgery from melanoma, urology and breast cancer surgery. A number of new regional collaboratives such as the Northwest advanced colorectal cancer research collaborative reassure us that the future of cancer surgery remains bright."

We would like to thank Swann Morton for their continued support of the CREST award and look forward to next year’s competition.