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The Scottish Cancer Research Network (SCRN) was established in 2003 as a result of specific investment in the NHS research infrastructure from the Scottish Executive. The fundamental aim of the SCRN is to support the recruitment of cancer patients into clinical research and so contribute to improving the quality of cancer care for patients across Scotland. The SCRN was cited as an example of best practice in the Scottish Government’s “Better Cancer Care, An Action Plan” of 2008.
The SCRN is split regionally with each having a Clinical Lead and a Research Network Manager, with clinical leads of Dr David Dunlop (West), Dr Charlie Gourlay (SE), Dr Marianne Nicholson (N), Dr Alistair Thompson (E)
Objectives of the SCRN are:
- Breadth of portfolio: Support recruitment to a range of trials, not just common cancers
- Randomised Controlled Trial focus: Support recruitment to therapy trials, with an aim to have 7.5 % of cancer patients treated in Randomised Controlled Trials
- Translational research: Work in partnership with the Experimental Cancer Medicine Network (ECMC) to support translational studies
- Equity of access: To increase access to clinical trials outside the Cancer Centres
The Scottish Cancer Research Network continues to work within our service networks to support a research portfolio which includes NCRN trials, commercial activity and other non commercial trials across all tumour sites. The Clinical trial portfolio for the SCRN is bigger for 2010-11 than any previous years with 357 research projects open in the year 2010-11. The reasons for this upward trend of portfolio expansion is as a result of - targeted therapies, intelligent trial design and exclusive eligibility require a much broader trial portfolio for essentially the same anticipated overall accrual.
Commercial studies now make up an unprecedented and significant proportion (40%) of the total SCRN trial portfolio and [49%] of the Randomised Controlled Trials (RCTs). The adoption and feasibility process by the National Cancer Research Network (NCRN) has facilitated this growth as a quarter of the commercial studies have come through that process.
The role of translational research continues to grow across the SCRN and cancer research in Scotland. The vast majority of trials have a translational component which requires a high level of support from the pathologists across Scotland. The Glasgow ECMC has been renewed and a new Edinburgh/Dundee ECMC has been funded to follow on from the successful Edinburgh ECMC. A Translational Strategy Board Bid from Aridhia, Dundee and Edinburgh for informatics to integrate data bases has also been successfully awarded to develop realtime access to cancer trials, clinical care and research data, commencing September 2011. In addition, stand alone translational studies continue to grow within the SCRN – reflecting the increasing ability to link genetic characteristics to prognosis and responses for many cancer subtypes.
The collaboration with Cancer Research UK Centres, which help take the research from bench to bedside has helped facilitate specific research focuses in each of the Centres that help compliment the existing research portfolio. In addition to Cancer Research UK Centre status in Dundee and Edinburgh, Glasgow was awarded Centre Status which incorporates the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre, The Beatson Institute, Strathclyde University and the University of Glasgow.
The CRUK Clinical Trials Unit (CTU) Glasgow is a NCRI Accredited CTU. Our main responsibilities are the development and coordination of academic-led cancer clinical trials. A full list of clinical trials running in this unit can be found on the website.
Leading researchers include Dr Russell Petty, Professor Alistair Thompson, Professor David Harrison, Professor Robert Steele, Professor Steven Heys, Professor Simon Herrington, Professor Jeff Evans, Professor Tessa Holyoake and Professor Rob Jones.