Significant progress on The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre's prestigious research partnership

Posted 1st August 2023

A significant achievement for The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre (CCC) in the past year has been the establishment of a promising and high-profile collaboration with London’s The Royal Marsden and Institute of Cancer Research (RM/ICR).

This institutional partnership – the only one of its type in Liverpool – has been made possible and is underpinned by a successful application for prestigious NIHR Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) status to RM/ICR, with CCC as a co-applicant and acknowledged and recognised as a significant collaborator in the award.

NIHR-BRCs are partnerships between the country’s leading NHS Trusts and top academic institutions and RM/ICR, with CCC as a named collaborator, have secured the only cancer-specific BRC centre status nationwide.

The 20 BRC centres across England are part of the National Institute of Health Research infrastructure and receive substantial and sustained funding to attract, support and promote clinical research activities to improve patient experience and outcomes, and create an environment where experimental medicine can thrive.

RMH/ICR and CCC have identified five key themes for joint working over the next five years which span the patient journey: precision diagnostics and cancer evolution, precision therapeutics, advanced technologies for cure, immunotherapeutics, and cancer treatment effects and survivorship.

The themes have helped to establish new research partnerships as well as strengthen existing connections between physicians and scientists in both organisations.

The partnerships and collaborations are underpinned by ring-fenced financial outlay to support the collaboration, which has been further bolstered by a contribution from the Clatterbridge Cancer Charity.

A BRC Steering Committee has been established for oversight of the collaboration, with CCC’s Professor Nagesh Kalakonda assuming the role as the local BRC lead for support and supervision of all activities.

In addition, each of the five themes within the collaboration have a nominated CCC lead to plan and map activities and progress. These are:

  • Immunotherapeutics – Prof Christian Ottensmeier
  • Precision diagnostics and cancer evolution – Prof Carlo Palmieri
  • Advanced technologies for cure – Prof Isabel Syndikus
  • Precision therapeutics – Prof Nagesh Kalakonda
  • Cancer treatment effects and survivorship – Dr Anna Olsson-Brown

Participation in cancer-specific BRC activities will enhance Clatterbridge’s ability to influence and transform ground-breaking clinical research, trials, treatments and medical technologies to improve outcomes for patients at CCC as well as regionally and nationally.

It is envisaged that the collaboration will also help future joint funding bids.

Prof Kalakonda said: “The embedding of CCC within with BRC is a significant milestone for our institution and builds on the success in securing an early-phase Clinical Research Facility and Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre status for the next five years.

“Significant progress has been made to embed Clatterbridge within RMH/ICR Cancer-BRC activities and work has already commenced to establish and progress joint projects within each theme.

“It is a really exciting time to be contributing and participating in clinical research at CCC and we very much look forward to the knowledge exchange that will result from this key collaboration which should ultimately benefit our patients.”