Research is a vital part of cancer care. It is only through exploring new and exciting ideas that we can make real progress in treatment. The Sussex Cancer Fund continues to support research in a number of ways.
National and International Projects
The Sussex Cancer Centre has always been actively involved in research and employs a full time research manager and several research nurses (pictured above) and radiographers. The research trials run by the Centre are endorsed by the NCRN (National Cancer Research Network) and are often National or International studies requiring many hundreds of patients. Occasionally to take part in these studies the Centre needs to upgrade to the latest medical technologies and it is here that the Cancer Fund has helped.
Many good ideas and innovations come from small projects and the Cancer Fund recognises this. In order to encourage and nurture local talent in Cancer Research the Cancer Fund has set up a Research Committee supported by a Research Fund. This Committee includes representation from all the staff groups within the Cancer Centre. One member, Consultant Oncologist Dr Richard Simcock had this to say:
"There are many staff within the Cancer Centre who have had excellent ideas about improving cancer care. These range from changes in radiotherapy technique to the use of honey for the treatment of sore mouths. The only correct scientific way to develop and test these theories is by doing properly conducted research. This takes time and costs money. The Research Committee and the funding it will provide will allow Sussex researchers to develop ideas and test them in a way which will benefit our local patients and eventually, we hope, cancer patients everywhere."
Currently the Sussex Cancer Fund for Research and Treatment is supporting 2 novel research projects in conjunction with Brighton and Sussex Medical School. These are being undertaken by Dr Cressida Lorimer and Dr Sally Appleyard, specialist registrars in Clinical Oncology who have taken 2 years out of their training to dedicate to research.
Dr Lorimer is examining the management of elderly patients with aggressive brain tumours. There has been an international call for increasing the amount of research specifically aimed at older patients with cancer and there is currently a paucity of clinical trials amongst the neuro-oncology group. Dr Lorimer is examining how we can better individualise treatment strategies, assessing patients’ clinical parameters alongside imaging and molecular biomarkers. She is setting up a national study with collaboration from The Royal Marsden Hospital and The Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre. She is supervised by Dr Juliet Brock.
Dr Appleyard is running a national study looking at the quality of life experienced by patients after treatment for bladder cancer. This group of patients often have the option of surgery or radiotherapy treatment – both aiming to provide long term control of the disease. However, there is little direct evidence about the long term side effects of both treatments and how they impact on individual quality of life. Dr Appleyard's project will seek to inform both patients and health care professionals in making treatment decisions. In addition the project will involve the use of novel “mobile – app” based data collection tools and an assessment of the ease of their use in this patient group. She is supervised by Dr Ashok Nikapota