Accelerating the pace from bench to beside: the NIHR Oncology Translational Research Collaboration

In a nationwide effort to prioritize and accelerate translational research, a brand-new oncology research collaboration has been established by The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), bringing together experts from across the country to achieve what was previously not possible.

Cancer is one of the most burdensome public health issues in the UK, impacting hundreds of thousands of people annually.1 Commitment to action is incredibly important to lower cancer morbidity and mortality. Set up to address this need, the NIHR-funded Oncology Translational Research Collaboration (TRC) will unify NIHR biomedical research centers across England to conduct research only achievable through collaboration. The NIHR are the largest national funders of health and care research, dedicated to financing, supporting, and delivering high quality research. The project will be led by the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) at The Royal Marsden and The Institute of Cancer Research, London, and chaired by Prof. Stan Kaye, Consultant Medical Oncologist at the Royal Marsden, London, UK.

In a recent interview with VJOncology, Prof. Kaye shared the importance of this collaboration and what it aims to achieve in the coming years.

‘We felt when we got together that there was the potential for us to really work together to fill in some of the gaps we felt were present in translational research.’

The TRC has identified 4 main workstreams where there is the greatest potential for collaboration to make a difference to translational research.

Early diagnosis
Firstly, the TRC will focus on increasing the number of patients diagnosed early, a key factor in improving disease outcomes. The implementation of rapid diagnostic centers across the country will aid this goal, avoiding delays in the onset of care, and thus, making significant improvements to the lives of patients with cancer.

Concentrating on developing novel imaging techniques for precision surgery and broadening patient rehabilitation, the TRC aim to drive forward surgical innovations.

Immunotherapy is a rapidly advancing therapeutic option for patients with cancer, revolutionizing the treatment landscape. Collaboration between research centers will allow greater personalization of cancer care, through improved understanding of who will benefit most and who is most at risk of developing side effects from certain treatments.

The final focus of the TRC is to undertake collaborative research into radiotherapy to predict and prevent toxicity-related side effects.

‘We want to see, over the next few years, what are the ways that we can add to the existing research in the country to really make a difference to patient care’ – Prof. Stan Kaye

Exciting progress is to come over the next few years as a result of the Oncology TRC. Through pioneering translational work, identification of research gaps, and strategic alignment with key partners, the collaboration aims to improve outcomes for all cancer patients.

Written by Juliet Lawrence


  1. Cancer Research UK, Cancer incidence statistics. Available from: [Accessed 10/03/2021]