Two CRP Panel Members sit on the Experimental Cancer Medicines Committee at a hospital in South Yorkshire.

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February 2013
The last meeting was 11 January 2013.

Bone oncology: Professor Rob Coleman reported that an MRC project grant of £1 million has been awarded to look at the effect of saracatinib on bone pain. This is being led by David Andrew with Sarah Danson, Ingunn Holen and Rob Coleman. The Dental Hospital will be involved, and the study has laboratory and clinical components. There is also research into bio-markers, imaging, and a strategy for radiotherapy research is being worked on.

There are plans to put together a Yorkshire wide clinical trial centre in Leeds with the support of York, Sheffield and Hull. The trial centre would focus on early phase and radiotherapy trials.

A report from an ECMC Leads meeting stated that Sheffield was praised for their clear and concise submission and mention of consumer participation.

Sheffield is classed as a level 1 centre, as biological agents can be administered here.

A new biobank is being set up, and will be located at RHH. Thought is to be given as to how to engage patients in the process. Dr Burn would like to introduce videos of patients talking to clinicians about the benefits of samples being taken and stored. Patient educators could also be present in clinics.

November 2012
Nothing to report this quarter, but you can bet everybody at ECMC is working hard. Lance Burn is now Manager of the Cancer Research Centre and is organising some very interesting workshops and seminars. Some are set up to establish working relationships, such as the meeting with members of the Chemistry Department to discuss using suitable small molecules in vitro studies to assess for potential anti-cancer effects. It seems that industry and universities such as ours have ‘libraries’ of molecules. They can also be made to order to required design

.July 2012
Penella Woll produced her Annual and Quinquennial reports in June, and the CRP received a very honourable mention.

In February (2012) we were invited to the the launch meeting of the Sheffield CRUK/YCR Cancer Centre on 29. We were able to meet representatives of the cancer charities, University and hospital trust. We were delighted to be invited, and took the opportunity to promote the virtues of early PPI to an eminent audience of researchers.

March 2012
The CRUK YCR Cancer Research Centre officially opened on 1st October. The seminar series has started (4th Wednesday of the month) and projects for the Clinical Fellowships and PhD studentships have been advertised on the website, for interview early in January.

A Complex Therapies Unit is planned, funding has been agreed and plans are under discussion. There needs to be a distinct area that will be badged appropriately, access to beds will be needed and an en-suite facility for viral/gene therapies. The need for improved pharmacy facilities to support this was highlighted.

Histo-pathologist Jonathan Bury informed the meeting that the cost of setting up a facility to process fresh frozen tissue would cost in the region of £100k. There is no current database which logs the distribution and return of blocks. Janet Horsman will provide some help to Cathryn Leng to establish a tissue database.

The number of running trials has increased since the last meeting, and the number of patients in trials has also increased.

Contacts with industry are being progressed.

December 2011
On 21 October the Drug Development Office (DDO) visited Sheffield to give an overview of their services to ECMC members. In turn, ECMC gave an overview of the facilities and skills available in Sheffield. A short report was put together for the website.

September 2011
The last meeting was 28 October and neither DA nor JMG were able to attend.

May 2011
We are exploring other avenues to try and encourage a clinical trial of vitamin D in lung cancer patients. We are making contact with other doctors and bodies interested in this topic.

The last meeting was 25th March. DA and JMG attended the first part of the guest lecture entitled “The year 2011 is The Year of Radiotherapy”. The DoH is making a special push to raise the profile of this form of treatment. Career paths will be designed and academic prospects will be improved by the creation of academic chairs and professorships in research and application. The study of new methods will be greatly encouraged.

Transforming Radiotherapy Research in the UK, given by Professor Illige. 2011 is the Year of Radiotherapy – there is to be a big push in the UK to promote research, greater use of the technology, and the use of modern methods. The use of RT together with drugs will be explored in future projects. A trial methodology will be developed, and there will be greater dialogue with surgeons. Academic career development paths will be instituted A Think Tank is planned for July 2011.

The CRUK signoff for the ECMC is scheduled for early April, and will be a huge boost for cancer research in Sheffield. £2million will be spent on a new treatment facility, including imaging facility, and mass spectrometry. This will enable work using new drugs, genetically engineered viruses, and first-in-man studies. All in all there is plenty of work coming along.

CRUK anticipate that eventually, cancer treatment will depend on the genetic characteristics of the cancer identified by molecular testing. The Stratified Medicines bid furthers this concept and Sheffield Children’s hospital has applied to become a laboratory hub of which there will be two in the country.

Work is starting on a project taking serum samples at different stages of prostate cancer. It has been found that bisphosphonates only work in post-menopausal women. The reason for this is not known but research is under way.

February 2011
The meeting with Professor Powers about trialling high doses of vitamin D went well, we thought, but after discussions with Professor Woll, it was suggested that we write the proposal and apply for funding to whatever bodies we can. This of course, is not really an option for us so other avenues are being explored.

On 20th July 2010, Sheffield ECMC hosted a workshop for the ECMC Early Phase and Translational Research Nurse Network Group, patients and NCRI Consumer Liaison Group members to discuss how best to involve consumers in translational research and early clinical trials. The workshop, entitled “bench to bedside – the roles of consumers in cancer research” was popular, interactive and well-rated.

October 2010
JG attended the latest meeting on 3rd September 2010. There is a Quinquennial Review of ECMC by CRUK taking place, and there is concern about funding for the new system. It was noted that from last September, PPI is a requirement. CRP representation is included, and JG offered to write a short paragraph about the patient view for inclusion in the report.

There is a new initiative to set up a biobank of frozen tissue to speed up the research process. The latest drive is towards ‘stratified medicine’, or personalised medicine, and CRUK wish to run a pilot where routinely collected samples will be put through a series of pathology tests. Problems to be resolved include ethics, consents, and data governance.

ECMC have quite a significant portfolio of trials ongoing, with hundreds of participants. A collaboration group has been set up with Astra Zenica, and if patients do well on novel drugs, they now stay on them. It was mentioned that drug companies focus on single agents, whereas the value of academic input is in the setup of multi-agent trials. Note that the academics keep control of the data and write their own papers. They do not hand over control to the industry.

The Research Nurse Study Day went well – thank you for your help with answers to questions. Not sure how the talk went – there has been a polite silence.

We answered Prof Woll’s request for ideas on research topics, and settled on a trial of vitamin D for lung cancer patients, with the objective of measuring increase in survival (if any) after supplementation with high doses. Prof Woll was not dismissive, considers the question worth asking, and we are now in the process of arranging a meeting with Prof Hilary Powers, Head of Human Nutrition, to see what concerns there may be.

July 2010
The last meeting of 26th March was attended. Budget was presented by Professor Woll.
Ideas for research were requested by Prof Woll, and the CRP was asked to contribute ideas for studies.
The CRP Annual Report on CD was distributed, Prof Woll asked if the AR was going to be put on the website. JG said that the Panel will take a vote.

It is becoming evident that PPI is becoming mandatory, as public money is being spent.

April 2010
At their quarterly meeting, the Panel was asked whether they have any ideas to forward to Professor Woll about suitable topics for research in ECMC.

January 2010
This is now out of development and a full centre. Penella Woll is the clinical director of this group. What an achievement! And the Panel are lucky enough to have two members on the committee. I expect exciting research and lots of interesting ‘toys’.