Written by Prof Nigel Bundred (pictured), GM CLRN Cancer Local Specialty Group and Clinical Lead for the Greater Manchester and Cheshire Cancer Research Network.
Last year – April 2010 to March 2011 – was an excellent year for the Greater Manchester & Cheshire Cancer Research Network (GMCCRN) as it was our most successful yet in terms of recruitment to clinical trials and overall performance.
During this time all 12 of the Acute Trusts that we support recruited 10% of their new cancer patient population into National Cancer Research Network studies. On top of that, eight of those Trusts also succeeding in recruiting over 7.5% of their total population into randomised controlled trials.
Of course, this increase in recruitment means that more patients are accessing new and novel cancer treatments or procedures and I’d like to thank all the patients who agreed to take part in trials. Without patients agreeing to take part in clinical trials, at what is obviously a difficult time for them, then we wouldn’t be able to achieve these results and develop cancer services and treatments further.
As well as patients, I’d also like to thank the 12 hospital trusts that we work with for making this year so successful. By working with all of the Trusts in our area we’re ensuring ‘equity of access’. This official-sounding term means that we’re giving every patient the same access to clinical trials, regardless of where they are treated, whether in a world-renowned centre such as The Christie or at any of the District General Hospitals across the region.
How do we measure success?
As a Cancer Research Network (CRN), our success is measured against the other 31 CRNs and this year we were the top performing CRN in the UK. For three of the four indicators used to measure the performance of CRNs, we were top and in the final category we were second. This means, in 2010-11, GMCCRN recruited:
- The highest percentage of its cancer patient population into randomised controlled trials
- The most cancer patients into NIHR Portfolio adopted commercial trials
- The most participants into cancer and cancer-prevention studies
- And the second highest percentage of its cancer patient population into all types of studies.
However, such a successful year doesn’t mean we will be resting on our laurels. We’re always looking at ways to improve the amount of research into new treatments as well as working with new investigators at different sites.
We’ll be sharing some of the ways we’ve been able to achieve this success very soon.
GMCCRN is one of 32 Cancer Research Networks in the UK. It was established in 2003 to provide NHS organisations in the region with an infrastructure to support high quality cancer clinical trials. It has a remit to being benefit to patients, the public and the NHS by improving the speed, integration quality and inclusiveness of cancer research.
GM CCRN serves a population of 3.2 million people and covers 12 NHS Hospital Trusts.
Prof Nigel Bundred is Professor of Surgical Oncology and Consultant Surgeon based at the University Hospital of South Manchester NHS Foundation Trust as well as at the Christie Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, where he has a large clinical commitment to the Manchester Breast Service.