New UK network will speed up progress in radiotherapy research
Currently around 40% of cancer patients in the UK have radiotherapy as a part of their treatment. It plays a major treatment in curing many cancers and also in relieving symptoms. There is strong evidence to suggest that radiotherapy could be even more helpful if:
• we understood more about the biology of how it affects cancer cells
• treatments are further refined
• we know more about how to combine radiotherapy with other types of treatment.
So Cancer Research UK (CRUK) recently commissioned an independent Panel led by Professor Patrick Maxwell to determine how the UK should seek to support radiotherapy research in the future. The report made a range of positive recommendations, including:
• developing a coordinated network of Centres of Excellence with cutting-edge facilities and close-partnership with the NHS
• ensuring that CRUK funding committees include suitable radiation research expertise and are welcoming to radiotherapy research applications
• building the UK radiation research community through training, events and collaboration
Cancer Research UK has broadly accepted the findings of the report and is now beginning to implement the recommendations. It has invited cancer hospitals to apply to be members of an integrated, national network of centres of excellence in radiation research, called RADNET. The aim is to speed up developments in radiotherapy research and find ways of combining radiotherapy with other types of treatment, such as chemotherapy and immunotherapy.