Radiotherapy researchers identify priorities for improving outcomes for cancer patients

The NCRI Radiotherapy (CTRad) Group has published its strategic priorities in radiotherapy research to address challenges in the field.

The group has identified four strategic priorities it believes need to be addressed by the community to improve outcomes for patients:

Translating novel discoveries to and from the clinic
Evaluating and optimal implementation of new radiotherapy technologies
Generating evidence to change practice
Real-world patient experience and evidence
NCRI CTRad is a world-leading radiotherapy research group which leads, coordinates and raises the profile of U.K. radiotherapy research. It is a unifying voice for radiotherapy research in the U.K. and the only national multidisciplinary research group globally that drives bench to bedside research in radiotherapy.

The group is a multi-disciplinary community of researchers and patients focused on issues relating to radiotherapy research. The group aims to maximize quantity and quality of life for patients receiving radiotherapy by optimizing tumor control and minimizing toxicity.

Reflecting on the work of the NCRI Radiotherapy (CTRad) Group, Professor Robert Huddart, Chair of the Group, said, “NCRI CTRad is widely recognized as an internationally leading multidisciplinary radiotherapy research group that represents the broad U.K. radiotherapy research community and continues to deliver world-leading and practice-changing research with global reach. NCRI CTRad’s Top 10 achievements, published in 2019 to mark the group’s 10th anniversary, highlights the significant and lasting influence the group has had on the U.K.’s cancer research landscape, and the group has continued to thrive despite the very significant challenges of the global pandemic.”

In the three years since the publication of NCRI CTRad’s previous strategy, the U.K.’s cancer research landscape has changed considerably as a result of:

Advances in radiotherapy technologies
Progress with proton beam therapy clinical trial development and funding
Establishment of CRUK’s RadNet, a network of seven radiotherapy centers of excellence
The COVID-19 pandemic and associated challenges for cancer research
An increasingly competitive funding landscape and the need to offer more value within each funded study
Professor Huddart continued, “As NCRI CTRad published its strategic priorities, one of the key challenges will be to maintain momentum and maximize the ongoing impact of NCRI CTRad during a time of change. Proposal guidance for the development of radiotherapy studies will remain core business for NCRI CTRad, and we will ensure our focus is on the strategic priority areas so that the key objectives outlined are delivered over the next three years.”

To identify the key priorities in radiotherapy research, NCRI CTRad held a strategy day, attracting 45 participants from various sectors and disciplines, including NCRI Consumer Forum members, Early Career Researchers and Partners.

The sessions allowed for discussion on the overarching challenges, opportunities and gaps in radiotherapy research and specific issues and areas of unmet need in the field.

Experts exchanged ideas on the priorities for future radiotherapy research. Each session involved researchers from wide-ranging disciplines encouraging cross-cutting collaboration to meet today’s most pressing needs in radiotherapy research.