Professor Judith Bliss is Professor of Clinical Trials at The Institute of Cancer Research, London and Director of its Cancer Research UK funded Clinical Trials & Statistics Unit (ICR-CTSU) and Deputy Head of the Division of Clinical Studies.
A trials statistician with over 30 years’ experience, her professional interests are in the design and analysis of cancer clinical trials; driven by a desire to ensure that trials are efficient and sufficiently robust to provide both the safety and efficacy results required to directly influence routine clinical practice internationally. The focus of her work involves trials aimed at optimising treatment for breast cancer. This has included work comparing different chemotherapeutic agents and refining radiotherapy schedules as well as optimising the scheduling of endocrine therapy.
In 2021 she was successful in renewing her prestigious NIHR Senior Investigator Award recognising her trials leadership and contribution to UK clinical research, and the impact of her research on patient outcomes. She has published over 200 peer review papers, largely on breast cancer trials (h-index=78, i10-index=188). She is the statistical lead for numerous trials (including PHOENIX, POETIC-A, HER2-RADiCAL, POETIC, PALLET, TACT, TACT2, START, IMPORT LOW & HIGH, FastFORWARD, EPHOS, IES, plasmaMATCH, c-TRAK TN and PRIMETIME) and member of several international trial steering committees (APHINITY, PALLAS, ALTTO, OLYMPIA).
Focus for contemporary trial activity is on establishing evidence for biologically targeted therapies through a suite or perioperative window of opportunity trials and more recently trials utilising early biological intermediate endpoints (eg ctDNA analysis) to drive therapeutic choices and predict long term outcomes.
She collaborates with key clinical and scientific opinion leaders and international investigators from Europe and elsewhere via the Breast International Group (REACT:GBG; MA32: NCI-C), via direct bilateral collaborations (PALLET – with NSABP; UNIRAD – with UNICANCER) and with pharmaceutical company partners as required.
She is currently chair of the UK Breast Intergroup and in 2019 was re-elected to the UK National Cancer Research Group (NCRI) Breast Clinical Studies Group, and is also a member of its Early Disease Subgroup. Internationally, she is a group representative for the Breast International Group and a member of the Steering Committee for the Early Breast Cancer Trialists Collaborative Group (EBCTCG) and Aromatase Inhibitor Overview Group (AIOG).
She is engaged in research to increase trial efficiency and enable technology to enhance trial conduct methods together with the challenges of accessing routinely collected data to obtain outcome and survivorship data. She is a member of the Trials Methodology Research Partnership Health Informatics Strategy Group. She has an interest in long-term impact of therapy and was co-chair of the Breast International Group and North American Breast Cancer Group Taskforce on Survivorship.
Professionally trained as a medical statistician (MSc in Medical Statistics & Information Technology from the University of Leicester and Fellow of the UK Royal Statistical Society, her statistical and trial methodology contribution to clinical trials, particularly in breast cancer, was recognised in 2006 with the conferment of the title of Professor in Clinical Trials (University of London).
Now, as a member of the Executive Group of the UK Clinical Research Collaboration Clinical Trials Units Network and past Chair of the NCRI Cancer CTU Group she provides leadership across the clinical trials research framework in the UK. Additionally she has considerable experience in grant review committee membership at an international level. Until 2020 she was a member of ICR’s Athena SWAN Steering Group having contributed to its successful Silver Award.
During 2020/21 she has been a member of the NIHR Urgent Public Health Group providing prioritisation advice to NIHR and giving a valued contribution to the UK’s COVID-19 response.