Speeding up cancer research

Last updated on 26 May 2023

Over the past year, we’ve been working with the UK Network of Experimental Cancer Medicine Centres (ECMC) to help set up cancer clinical trials more quickly.

As part of this, we’re working together to pilot new ways to set up studies in the network. The three key areas of improvement being considered for the pilot are:

  • helping the NHS support departments like pharmacy and radiology, to have all the information they need to set up studies quickly
  • the development of master contracts with the industry
  • better and clearer costing for studies in early development
Dr Janet Messer

'This project is important because cancer patients desperately need new treatment options and want to take part in trials of new treatments. But these have been declining in the UK. If we can make it easier to set up studies faster in the network, then we can also learn lessons to improve in other settings and for different disease areas'

Dr Janet Messer, Director of Approvals at the HRA

The Lord O’Shaughnessy’s review into the UK commercial clinical trial landscape highlights the challenges the UK faces attracting these types of trials and our work with the network will help address some of these issues.

The O’Shaughnessy review also has recommendations for HRA on how we can help make it easier to do research that people can trust.

The ECMC is made of up 17 adult and 12 paediatric centres who help ensure discoveries that are made in laboratories become treatments of the future.

The pilot is part of the UK Recovery, Resilience and Growth (RRG) Programme which aims to save and improve lives through clinical research delivery.

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