Memorandum submitted by the Royal Marsden
I have been asked by my Chief Executive to respond
to your recent letter on the follow up to this important Report.
Thank you for inviting us to comment on progress in implementing
the recommendations of the House of Commons Science and Technology
Select Committee. We supported the recommendations in the Report
and would like to make the following comments on progress:
NHS CANCER PLAN
We welcome the setting up of the National Cancer
Research Institute (NCRI) and are pleased to see that funding
has been made available for the establishment the National Cancer
Research Network (NCRN) and the National Translational Cancer
Research Network (NTRAC). In particular, the funding made available
for prostate cancer research and the establishment of NCRI Prostate
Cancer Collaboratives will strengthen the research effort in this
In reply to your specific query, it is our understanding
that the Cancer Research Funders Forum has been transformed into
the NCRI. However, much work remains to be done on how the NCRI
and its Steering Group intend to process and prioritise the funding
of clinical research proposals coming from the NCRI Tumour Study
Groups and elsewhere.
The recommendation was made that legislation
should be introduced to make cancer registration a legal requirement,
but the 1998 Data Protection Act has caused concerns over the
use of this data. While we welcomed the recommendation that the
advisory group on patient confidentiality should address these
issues, it is not clear that much progress has been made towards
the resolution of the issues surrounding access to cancer registry
data for legitimate research purposes and the timetable proposed
for such resolution.
We welcome the funding and establishment of
the National Cancer Research Network and will benefit from being
involved in the establishment of one of the first wave of Networks.
The setting up of the first wave was slightly delayed, but now
that recruiting of staff is underway and the National Cancer Research
Institute has been set up and is beginning to approve trials,
barriers to recruitment to trials can begin to be identified.
In those Networks that are established the NCRN has begun to raise
the profile of cancer clinical trials, but a lot of further progress
must be made in order to address the levels of recruitment to
these trials so that patient outcomes can be improved.
A key issue will be how effectively research
funding actually reaches the Cancer Research Networks and the
clinical research Centres/Units within them.
Dr Simon Dyer
Clinical R&D Manager
5 December 2001