A new team of researchers will get to work developing new cancer trials at Newcastle University thanks to funding from The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.

The charity is funding a new team based in Newcastle and working closely with NHS Trusts across the north of England to develop even more cancer research projects.

The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation Clinical Trials Design Team, funded by a £433,838 grant, will help answer important questions about cancer by ensuring research is designed in the best way possible.

Based at Newcastle University, the new team works with cancer researchers - the clinicians and scientists known as ‘investigators’ - to design and develop new trials.

The findings of these trials will not only benefit patients with cancer in this region but also nationally and internationally.

The Newcastle Clinical Trials Unit (CTU) is where trials are developed and managed, as opposed to delivered to patients, which is the role of the Sir Bobby Robson Centre.

James Wason, Professor of Biostatistics at Newcastle University, and Rebecca Maier, Deputy Lead of the Newcastle CTU are Project Leads on the new ‘Sir Bobby team.’

People have questions they want to answer for patients and, if you have a good research question, then you then need to answer it using strong and suitable methods.

James Wason, Professor of Biostatistics at Newcastle University

Working alongside the Department of Health funded Research Design Service North East and Cumbria and the Newcastle CTU, the ‘Sir Bobby team’ focuses solely on cancer and is already working with clinicians and researchers from across the region.

The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation Clinical Trials Design Team are working to develop trials across a broad range of cancer research topics and collaborate with investigators to seek industry and government funding for these.

In addition to the many possibilities for future cancer research, the team will expand and build on research studies already underway, including avoiding side effects for breast cancer patients and prevention of bowel cancer. There are also plans for a prostate cancer research project.

Former England and Newcastle United manager Sir Bobby Robson launched his foundation in 2008 Credit: Owen Humphreys/PA Archive/PA Images
2008

The year Sir Bobby Robson launched his foundation, calling it his "greatest team"

£14m

The amount raised since Sir Bobby launched his foundation in 2008

£433k

of funding announced in May 2020 to help progress cancer research in the North East

By working together, we can build strong trials and robust research. Each team member has different expertise and we bring that to our meetings.

Rebecca Maier, Deputy Lead of the Newcastle CTU

Within the NHS, it aims to find more effective ways to detect and treat cancer by working in partnership with other leading charities and organisations.

The work funded directly benefits cancer patients in the North East and Cumbria and plays a significant role in the international fight against the disease - funding cutting-edge cancer treatment and innovative cancer support services.

Sir Bobby Robson (second right) who is fighting cancer himself, today at the launch of The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation is pictured with (left to right) Jim Rosenthal, Bob Wilson Dr Ruth Plummer and Des Lynham (far right). Credit: Owen Humphreys/PA Archive/PA Images

When you’re trying to answer the more complex questions you need a research design team to help develop the trials and to work with the clinical trials team who treat the patients. This provides robust oversight as we deliver the trial.

Professor Ruth Plummer, Director of the Sir Bobby Robson Cancer Trials Research Centre