The division incorporates experts from medicine, paediatrics, haematology and surgery, along with statisticians and specialists in clinical trial design. Its multidisciplinary set-up allows it to develop clinical trial protocols for targeted drugs and technologies across multiple tumour types, in both adults and children.
The Drug Development Unit is one of the world’s leading centres for phase I trials in cancer, and treats around 300 patients each year. It aims to seamlessly bring together preclinical drug discovery, proof-of-principle phase I trials and tumour-specific evaluation of novel agents. Many of these clinical trials are focused on molecularly targeted treatments, matched to the particular molecular features of a patient’s tumour. The eventual aim is to provide fully personalised medicine, tailored to exploit the specific weaknesses of a patient’s tumour at that point in time. The conduct of the Pharmacodynamic Audit Trail (PhAT) is central to the studies run in this unit, which is also focused on developing novel biomarkers, triple signs and the optimal study of drug combinations.
The ICR-CTSU is a research led, academic trials unit established in the 1980s. The main objective of the ICR-CTSU is to lead the design, conduct and analysis of multi-centre national and international randomised controlled clinical trials of cancer treatments which will directly influence routine clinical practice within the NHS and worldwide.
Its trials form an important part of the national portfolio of randomised trials in breast cancer, urological cancers, head and neck cancers and radiotherapy techniques. It is also increasingly involved in exploratory and adaptive phase II targeted treatment trials and trials in rarer tumour groups.
Researchers in the Division of Clinical Studies were recently closely involved in the development of abiraterone, which has now been approved for use in the NHS for men with advanced prostate cancer. As well as developing new treatments, the division also conduct trials in which biomarkers are used to identify and target specific cancer types.
Members of Faculty are joint appointed with the divisions of Cancer Biology, Cancer Therapeutics or Radiology and Imaging to ensure scientific and technical developments are rapidly taken through to the clinic. This division is also totally committed to the training of the next generation of clinician-scientists and statisticians.