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Innovative National Clinical Trial Network Launched


Thursday 29 October 2009


Myeloma UK has launched an innovative Clinical Trial Network designed to transform the way drugs for the bone marrow cancer myeloma are tested and accessed in the UK.


The Network brings together for the first time clinical specialists and researchers, the pharmaceutical industry and NHS regulatory bodies to conceive, design and manage a portfolio of early phase trials of novel myeloma drugs in the UK. The first trials are expected to recruit patients in early 2010.


Eric Low, Myeloma UK chief executive commented: “Today is a proud day for Myeloma UK as we launch the Myeloma Clinical Trial Network. This is a huge investment for a cancer organisation of our size and we are confident that it will lead to important benefits for myeloma patients across the UK.”


He continues: “The model we have developed could apply beyond myeloma and have huge implications for the way other rare disease communities trial new drugs. Through effective cooperation and a strategic approach, our research model aims to overcome many of the barriers which currently prevent patients in the UK from receiving timely access to the best available treatment.”


Eight established research centres around the country have been recruited as trial sites to undertake the trial portfolio. The centres will be supported by a National Coordinating Office based at the University of Leeds. Myeloma UK will invest over £3 million into this network over the next 5 years, with additional investment to be leveraged from existing and future funding opportunities.


Professor Gareth Morgan, team leader of The Institute of Cancer Research's Leukaemia and Myeloma Molecular Genetics Team and Consultant Haematologist at The Royal Marsden Hospital - one of the network trial sites - explained the purpose of the network:


“The Myeloma Clinical Trial Network aims to rapidly move new treatments developed in the laboratory to the clinic where they constitute useful treatments for patients with myeloma.  The first step of this approach is to test the safety and effectiveness of these therapies and when this is completed, they will be made more generally available for widespread late phase testing”.


The network intends to support the wider efforts of the Government and research community to champion innovation, improve the competitiveness of the UK as a site for clinical research, and encourage the speedy introduction of new drugs into NHS practice.



Media Contact: Sarah Ritchie, Myeloma UK Policy and PR, [email protected] 0131 557 3332 or Paul Nash, Press Officer, The Royal Marsden Hospital, [email protected]  or 0207 352 8171


Notes to Editor:


About Myeloma

  • Myeloma is a cancer of the plasma cells, which are found in the bone marrow.  Most symptoms are caused by build up of defective plasma cells in the marrow, these include:  bone pain, bone fractures, fatigue, anaemia and an increased burden of infections
  • Nearly 4,000 people in the UK are diagnosed with myeloma each year and there are 14,000 myeloma patients in the UK at any one time
  • There is currently no cure for myeloma but treatment can halt the progress of disease and improve quality of life
  • Until recently, the average life expectancy of a newly-diagnosed myeloma patient is 3-5 years, but new treatment advances means that people are living longer. It is hoped that myeloma will one day become a chronic, rather than incurable disease


About Myeloma UK 

  • Myeloma UK is the only organisation in the UK dealing exclusively with myeloma and its related disorders
  • Myeloma UK has a comprehensive range of services for patients, their families and carers, nurses, doctors and GPs
  • Myeloma UK funds research and support innovation, which will ultimately lead to safer and better treatment as well as to curative strategies in the longer term


About the Myeloma Clinical Trials Network

The lead trial sites in the network will be located in the following centres:

  • St Bartholomew’s Hospital, London            
  • University Hospital, Birmingham
  • Christie’s Hospital, Manchester                    
  • King’s College Hospital, London
  • St James’s University Hospital, Leeds    
  • Nottingham University Hospitals
  • Royal Marsden Hospital, London                        
  • University College Hospital, London

Patients will be able to take part in trials at these lead trial sites and also at collaborating centres located across the UK.


About The Institute of Cancer Research

The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) is Europe’s leading cancer research centre with expert scientists working on cutting-edge research. In 2009, the ICR marks its 100 years of groundbreaking research into cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment. The ICR is home to the world’s leading academic drug development team, which has developed many drugs now used as standard cancer treatments. It continues to be at the forefront of drug development, discovering an average of two preclinical candidates each year over the past five years. In December 2008, the ICR was ranked as the UK’s leading academic research centre by the Times Higher Education’s Table of Excellence, based on the results of the Higher Education Funding Council’s Research Assessment Exercise. The ICR is a charity that relies on voluntary income, for more information visit

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