Liverpool Cancer Trials Unit with the CR-UK

Liverpool Cancer Trials Unit (LCTU)

The Cancer Research UK (CR-UK) Liverpool Cancer Trials Unit (LCTU) was first established in 1996 by Professor John Neoptolemos and colleagues for the purpose of completing the ESPAC-1 trial and with the objective of developing further trials, which at the time was focused on centrally co-ordinated National and European pancreatic cancer trials.

The LCTU was awarded a CR-UK Core Programme Grant in August 2006, and this has been continually renewed. Subsequently, the LCTU has achieved a number of key accomplishments, such as receiving full CR-UK registration in 2007 as part of the Clinical Trial Research Centre (CTRC) in Liverpool and full centre status after a formal review in December 2008.

The expansion of the LCTU was boosted by the development of the Centre for Medical Statistics and Health Evaluation (CMSHE) and the CR-UK/Department of Health (NIHR) Liverpool's Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (LECMC). The LCTU is based within the recently created Institute of Translational Medicine (previously the School of Cancer Studies), University of Liverpool and is embedded within the Liverpool CR-UK Centre and LECMC. 

Due to funding the LECMC became the Liverpool Experimental Drugs Disovery Unit (LEDDU) in 2011 it  and is now funded by the University of Liverpool and runs in collaboration with the PBRU.

The LCTU in conjunction with the LEDDU is able to design, lead, conduct, and support high quality early phase I/II and late phase III clinical trials, systematic reviews and other well designed studies to advance cancer research in a range of tumour areas: e.g. pancreas, head and neck, lung, melanoma, lymphoma, other haematological malignancies and palliative care. Currently, the LCTU manages a range of pancreatic clinical trials, such as: TeloVac, ESPAC 3, and ESPAC 4, which are associated with the PBRU. 

The LCTU has established an excellent mentoring relationship with University College London Clinical Trials Unit (UCL CTU), which is a highly successful and experienced CR-UK CTU. This has accelerated the development of operational systems in the LCTU, such as electronic systems for tracking and auditing clinical trial data and controlling SOPs . The LCTU provides advice and support on all aspects of trial design and management, which is of great benefit to the PBRU and RLBUHT R&D.

Such is the success of the LCTU that on Wednesday 8th February the LCTU was awarded 'Freedom of the City of Liverpool' at a Ceremony at Liverpool Town Hall, in recognition for its extensive research into treatment for cancer sufferers in the region and beyond.

Liverpool’s Lord Mayor, Councillor Frank Prendergast, said: "Awarding the Freedom of the City is the highest honour we can bestow, and the Cancer Research UK Centre are a most deserving recipient.

"Those working tirelessly to find a cure for cancer have made and continue to make a huge difference to the lives of many people. Their commitment and drive cannot be commended highly enough”.

"2012 is Liverpool's Action on Cancer Year, backed by the Council and Liverpool PCT, and Cancer Research UK’s tenth anniversary. I can think of no better time to reward the efforts of those working in the Cancer research field."

Liverpool Cancer Research UK Centre Chief Executive, Dr. Harpal Kumar said: "Cancer Research UK, and the partners of Liverpool Cancer Research UK Centre are extremely proud to be receiving the Freedom of the City of Liverpool Award, recognising our groundbreaking research. Together we will beat cancer in Merseyside and Cheshire".

The Liverpool Cancer Research UK Centre brings together scientists, doctors and nurses to boost key areas of research that will produce the greatest benefits for cancer patients in Liverpool, Merseyside and Cheshire. The Centre also focuses on tackling cancer in low income communities in the region, where more people die from the disease.

The Centre is a partnership between Cancer Research UK, the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospital's Trust, Clatterbridge Centre for Oncology NHS Foundation Trust, the University of Liverpool, Liverpool City Council, and Merseyside and Cheshire Cancer Network, Clatterbridge Cancer Research and the North West Research Fund.

An interview with Professor Robert Sutton on the BBC's North West Tonight programme can be seen on the Liverpool Cancer Centre website via link below:



The Liverpool Cancer Research UK Centre (LECMC - LEDDU)

This was opened in February 2004 by Professor Alex Markham (Chief Executive of CR-UK) and in February 2009, Cancer Research UK announced funding for the Liverpool CR-UK Cancer Centre as part of the new Cancer Centres Programme.

The Centre is a partnership between the RLBUHT, Clatterbridge Centre for Oncology NHS Foundation Trust, UoL, Liverpool City Council, the Merseyside and Cheshire Cancer Research Network and CR-UK. Funding for the Centre has helped underpin the developments of the LCTU, whilst the expertise of the LCTU has been used to extend the Research Governance arrangements. The LECMC is one of 15 Experimental Cancer Medicine Centres (ECMC) in the UK and provides infrastructure support for staff and running costs to underpin early phase trials and translational research.

The CR-UK Centre brings together many world-class researchers, doctors and nurses to boost key areas of research that will produce the greatest benefits for cancer patients in Liverpool, Merseyside and Cheshire. These include: pancreatic cancer (in collaboration with the PBRU), head and neck cancers, and leukaemias and lymphomas; which are areas of particularly strong expertise at the Centre. Research is also focussed on childhood cancer and tumours affecting the eyes. Large national and international phase III cancer trials are led by the LCTU.

The CR-UK Centre is also targeting cancer in local and low income communities in the region by promoting awareness about cancer and highlighting risks which can increase the incidence of disease.

The LECMC plays a substantial role in the CR-UK Centre by leading research programmes in ‘personalised medicine’ – developing treatments based on the genetic makeup of an individual’s cancer and developing/testing new drugs for treating the disease.

The LECMC was set up in 2007 as The Liverpool Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre, following an award by Cancer Research UK and the Department of Health to the School of Cancer Studies and Pharmacology, University of Liverpool, RLBUHT and Clatterbridge Centre for Oncology.  

In 2011 it became the Liverpool Experimental Drug Discovery Unit (LEDDU) and is now funded by the University of Liverpool and runs in collaboration with the PBRU.

The LEDDU is managed by the LCTU. The LCTU supports and manages the governance of the LEDDU. The LCTU and LEDDU also provide management and structured support to the PBRU, which is essential for supporting the pancreatic cancer clinical trial programme.