Issue 5 – June 2014

Welcome to the fifth edition of the Liaison Office newsletter.

Table of content

The UK Liaison Office has expanded!

The Liaison Office continues to play a major role in assisting UK investigators and the EORTC open clinical research studies in the UK. With an ongoing need to increase the number of international studies and facilitate genuine collaborations, the Liaison Office now has three Officers working to provide an even better service.

New Liaison Officer

We are delighted to welcome Karen Heasley to the Liaison Office team! Karen started in post in February 2014 and is based at CR-UK in London. This position is aiming toward increasing synergies between NCRI CSGs and EORTC DOGs and to maximise the opportunities of collaboration. Funded by EORTC, CR-UK and NIHR CRN: Cancer, these organisations believe this position will stimulate key opinion leaders from both networks to come together around commonly developed ideas.  This will decrease the number of competitive projects and will enable realisation of ideas none of the groups could undertake alone (e.g. rare cancers).

Liz Flackett and Nick Preston continue in their function as Liaison Officers based in Leeds. Their roles focus on the operational / regulatory side of the work, including NIHR Portfolio application, as well as overall communication on UK Liaison Office activity.

What does the Liaison Office currently do?

The three Liaison Officers will work closely together to provide a comprehensive regulatory and collaborative service for UK investigators and the EORTC:

Assisting UK investigators open EORTC member only and some EORTC-led intergroup studies (run through NCRI CSG, but without a CTU) in the UK:

Liz and Nick are focused on helping UK investigators work through the regulatory procedures required to open an EORTC study in the UK and to open UK studies in the EORTC. This is vital to ensure studies are open in an effective and timely manner. They also work with the NIHR Cancer Portfolio Team and local Clinical Research Networks, applying for Portfolio inclusion and monitoring the recruitment performance of these studies. In addition they are the central contact point for any EORTC-related queries and as a communication channel with EORTC.

Facilitating collaborations between UK and EORTC:

Karen is focused on facilitating communication between the EORTC (Head Quarters and Disease Groups), NCRI Clinical Studies Groups, Chief Investigators and Clinical Trials Units. This is a crucial factor in successfully establishing research studies, with a view to increasing contact between relevant parties at the earliest opportunity within the study lifecycle.  Based within CRUK Karen’s role also involves work associated with the Clinical Trials Awards and Advisory Committee (CTAAC).

!NEW EMAIL ADDRESS!

Please now use the following email address for all EORTC-related matters eortcliaison@nihr.ac.uk

We hope you continue to find the Liaison Office a useful resource!

Collaborations

International Rare Cancers Initiative (IRCI)

IRCI is a joint initiative between the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Clinical Research Network and Cancer Research UK (CR-UK) in the UK, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in the US and the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC).
The aim of this initiative is to facilitate the development of international clinical trials for patients with rare cancers in order to boost the progress of new treatments for these patients.

For further information: www.irci.info

We hope to be able to provide further collaborative information here as the Liaison Office develops.

Patient Information Improvement project

In 2012 the Liaison Office (with the support of the EORTC and NIHR Patient and Public Involvement Programme) developed a project to improve the quality and relevance of the Patient Information Sheets and Informed Consent (PIS IC) given to UK patients considering taking part in  EORTC clinical research activities.
This project is part of a wider initiative being developed by the EORTC called ‘Cooperation with Patient Organizations and Advocacy Groups’.

Volunteers from the NCRI Consumer Liaison Group (CLG) are asked to review PIS ICs for EORTC studies being opened in the UK prior to the PIS ICs being sent for ethical review. Each PIS IC has already been adapted to UK requirements by the UK Liaison Office.
The project has been running successfully for over two years with lay volunteers making a valuable contribution to the quality of patient information. To date, volunteers have reviewed 13 PIS ICs across a variety of cancer disease areas. We will shortly be producing a report highlighting the impact of the project which will be distributed to the CLG and we will provide a link in the next newsletter.

Thank you to all our volunteers!

Encouraging UK recruitment to EORTC studies

The majority of EORTC studies open in the UK are eligible for NIHR Portfolio support. As such they are subject to recruitment monitoring. Performance reports have been developed to indicate how well studies are recruiting. We would therefore like to continue to stress the importance of providing accurate target recruitment figures at the feasibility stage at each site and to encourage recruitment to EORTC studies if you are a participating investigator!

Studies open and in set-up

EORTC Fellowships

The EORTC has a well established research Fellow Program (since 1991). Further details can be found here.

Web resources

EORTC information and guidance can be found on the EORTC website.

EORTC membership – information regarding membership can be found here or by emailing membership@eortc.be or contacting the Liaison Office.

Trials on the UK NIHR Portfolio can be found on the NIHR Clinical Research Network website.

We welcome ideas for additional items for inclusion on the website.

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