The Cancer Research Network was formed in 2001 and was one of the first wave of research networks established by the Department of Health across the country. The English cancer research networks are overseen by the National Cancer Research Network (NCRN) and work closely with the Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish Cancer Research Networks.
The principal aims of the network are to improve the speed, quality and co-ordination of research across the cancer network; and thus ultimately to improve patient care. The target set by the Department of Health for the research networks to help achieve these aims was to double the number of patients entering clinical trials in the first 3 years (so that 7.5% of those estimated to have cancer are taking part in clinical trials). This target was met locally within 1 year and nationally has now been surpassed. The Cancer Research Network is fully integrated into the Avon Somerset and Wiltshire Cancer Services.
The network directly employs 32 staff and draws on the expertise of a large number of clinical research professionals to recruit patients into NCRN portfolio studies. The network funds research nurses, clinical trials officers, trial co-ordinators and data managers who are employed within local trusts. Staff are based across the network in six acute Trusts:
- North Bristol NHS Trust
- Royal United Hospital Bath NHS Trust
- Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust
- University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust
- Weston Area Health NHS Trust
- Yeovil District Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
There are currently three core team members:
- Clinical Lead for Research, Dr Stephen Falk
- Research Network Manager, Catherine Carpenter-Clawson
- Network Administrator, Sarah Redka
Achievements of the ASWCRN
Prior to the inception of the NCRN, the network area already had experience and expertise in cancer clinical trials. From 1 April 2001 to 31 March 2002, 5% of cancer & pre-malignant patients were taking part in clinical trials. Since then the research network has increased and maintained its capacity and in 2009-10, 16.6% of those individuals in the region were entering clinical trials and other studies in the NIHR portfolio. This exceeds both the Department of Health target of 7.5% and the National Cancer Research Network target of 10%.
The research network received positive feedback during the Cancer Services peer-review process in 2010 with recognition of good practice across the tumour groups and strong leadership.
Content of the ASWCRN Webpages
On the following webpages you can find:
- Update information on the trials currently open within the network (Trial Activity page)
- Information about training and education events being held locally or by the network (Training and Education page)
- Details about groups and meetings that help support the network's work (Groups page)
- Further information on the activities and recent achievements of the ASWCRN (Annual Report page)
- Links to key organisations and further information (Further Information links page)