Information About Research In Oncology
Clinical Trials in Oncology
In April 2001, the Department of Health received government funding to establish a National Cancer Research Network (NCRN) to provide infrastructure to conduct clinical trials within 33 networks across England.
The NCRN was developed along side the cancer service network and in this region we have the West Anglia Cancer Research Network (WACRN) and the West Anglia Cancer Network (WACN).
Since 2008, the Department has also received funding from the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre to help finance the infrastructure and resources needed to successfully conduct clinical trials.
Between 100-150 different cancer trials are carried out each year by the WACRN. These trials are conducted at the Cambridge Cancer Trials Centre and include investigation of:
- new diagnostic and screening techniques (e.g. molecular imaging),
- new treatments or new methods of use of existing treatments (e.g. radiotherapy) and
- options for improving the quality of life for cancer patients (e.g. location of care provided - home, GP surgery or hospital).
The WACRN has one of the highest patient recruitment rates into NCRN clinical trials, with current accrual standing at around 18% of incident cancer cases. The majority of accrual is into randomised controlled trials, considered to be the ‘Gold Standard’ and the WACRN has the highest accrual into this type of trial.
Approximately 60 to 70% of the WACRN’s annual trial activity is phase III (MRC, CRUK, EORTC, pharmaceutical company and 'in-house') with the remainder being in phase II trials and other studies. An increasing number of trials have and continue to be developed by local clinicians and scientists; a significant number of these trials have been approved for inclusion in the NCRN portfolio. Phase I trials are outside of the remit of the NCRN, however, alternative sources of funding are being used to develop this work.
For an explanation about what clinical trials are, who conducts them and why, please see Clinical Trials Overview. Further information about the WACRN, the Cambridge Cancer Trials Centre and the trials we conduct, please see the menu on the left of this page..