New Roads in Treatment and Trials

Programme Lead: Professor Colin Watts

Purpose: Establish a unique and internationally leading clinical trial and translational research ecosystem for brain cancer patients

One of the key initial objectives is to support and further enhance the Tessa Jowell BRAIN-MATRIX: a ground-breaking UK-wide trial aimed at radically increasing opportunities for brain tumour patients to try non-standard treatments. The BRAIN-MATRIX is being funded with a £2.8m investment from The Brain Tumour Charity

Strategic Objectives

The programme has a set of other agreed aims:

  • Develop a trial accelerator programme that ensures every brain cancer patient has the opportunity to be part of a clinical trial, personalised by individual tumour biomarkers, and optimised for their disease and personalised risk.
  • Establish a network of NHS centres that efficiently collect data at scale across digital, biological and clinical streams throughout the patient care pathway.
  • Advance the curation, analysis and sharing of data to support and inform clinical decision making and enable precision medicine in the NHS.
  • Attract international biopharma and diagnostic investment into leading edge treatment of UK cancer patients.
  • Support innovation in clinical trial design and methodology to maximise recruitment and enable parallel testing of multiple novel therapies.

Update on Progress

The main current focus is on setting up the Tessa Jowell BRAIN-MATRIX and obtaining the required approvals to be able to recruit the first patient. The BRAIN-MATRIX team is currently leveraging the expertise from its programme members to help with the protocol writing, study design and approvals process.

Within the programme, Prof Anthony Chalmers is leading a small task force on clinical trial red tape. The team has recently authored a paper outlining several solutions to prevent delays in opening new clinical studies for brain tumour patients. This is highly relevant for the BRAIN MATRIX. The solutions are currently being discussed with relevant governing bodies.