The Northern Centre for Cancer Care is active in clinical research and has a diverse and large number of clinical studies.
Research and clinical trials are very important to the overall outcomes of patients. This is because each new cancer therapy has to go through a rigorous testing process before being offered to patients as an established and approved treatment option. This includes radiotherapy techniques as well as anticancer medicines.
There are different phases to researching a new treatment or intervention and this is generally divided into three phases.
These are studies looking at medicines or intervention in the very early stages of their development. The studies are designed to discover the safe dosages of this intervention, and what side effects to expect.
These are studies that establish how well a new proposed treatment works on a particular cancer / cancers
These are studies that compare a new treatment with established treatments.
Our research teams also conduct smaller studies that are designed to aid the running of some of the studies in one of the phases of research mentioned above:
Pilot and Feasibility Studies
These can done for any phase of clinical trials. They are normally a smaller version of the main study designed to:
- either assess whether a bigger version will work (Pilot), or
- to answer a specific research question before the main study can run (Feasibility)
As part of your care and treatment you may be approached about taking part in a clinical trial or a research activity.
In this section we aim to provide some information about our two research teams:
Early Phase Team
This team delivers:
- all Phase I studies for Solid Cancers
- most of Phase II studies for Solid Cancers
The team is based at the Sir Bobby Robson Clinical Trials Unit and have a dedicated clinical research team trained to deliver first in human trials of potential novel treatments. This includes all regulatory aspects with the site frequently being the lead site for a particular study.
Early phase trials, despite being primarily safety studies, do try to match the “right patient to the right trial”. As such, many early phase trials also include tumour or blood sample molecular profiling to look for potential tumour changes which can be targeted.
The clinical research team is closely linked to researchers at Newcastle University in the Newcastle Centre for Cancer, to enable “bench to bedside” research to improve cancer treatments.
Late Phase Team (Oncology Haematology Research)
This Team delivers:
- all Phase I, II and III studies for haematological (blood) cancers
- some Phase II studies for solid cancers
- all Phase III studies for solid cancers
- radiotherapy based clinical trials
The aim of the Oncology Haematology Research team is to provide the widest possible research portfolio. This ensures that as many patients as possible can be offered a suitable clinical trial.
The team has dedicated space to perform trial-specific operations such as trials setup, data processing and quality monitoring. All clinical activities are delivered within the clinical wards, day-units or outpatient departments at NCCC.
Oncology Haematology Research has strong links with the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) through the local clinical research network for the North East and North Cumbria (LCRN NENC). This allow our cancer experts to carry out a balanced portfolio of clinical trials to cover most if not all disease areas that fall into the 4 categories above.
The team also works closely with the Centre for Cancer Research at Newcastle University, as well as a wide range of industrial, clinical and pre-clinical partners. They are also regularly involved in pilot and feasibility studies to inform clinical trials design and future direction.
World class research
Managing a diverse portfolio of research projects involves a central group tasked with monitoring capacity and ensuring safe delivery of world class research. There area also a number of disease area specific subgroups. They are tasked with monitoring performance in their areas and ensuring patients have access to relevant and topical clinical trials
The disease specific subgroups ensure cutting edge clinical trials are available to our patients and have links with regional, national and international research groups.
Oncology Haematology Research has an active radiotherapy research group that provides, delivers and supports clinical research involving radiotherapy in all disease areas.
Our disease specific subgroups are:
- Leukaemia and myelodysplasia tumour specific group (TSG)
- Myeloma TSG
- Myeloproliferative disease TSG
- Lymphoma TSGBone marrow transplant TSG
- Lower Gastrointestinal cancers TSG
- Lung cancers TSG
- Breast cancers TSG
- Upper Gastrointestinal cancers TSG
- Hepato-Pancreatico-Biliary and Neuro-endocrine TSG
- Urological cancers TSG
- Bone and Soft Tissue Sarcoma TSG
- Central nervous system TSG
- Teenage and young adults TSG
- Gynaecological cancers TSG
- Head & Neck cancers TSG