‘On the Shoulders of Giants’ NCITA educational lecture series

On the Shoulders of Giants’ is a series of monthly educational online talks hosted by NCITA where experts bring their perspectives to encourage and challenge wider thinking within the cancer research community.

The Importance of Diversity in Trials and Other Health Research – October 2022

Professor Shaun Treweek is Professor of Health Services Research in the Health Services Research Unit at the University of Aberdeen. He is leading an initiative called  Trial Forge that aims to be more systematic about how we generate and use research evidence in making trial design, conduct, analysis and reporting decisions.

In this lecture, Professor Treweek will talk about why we need to think more about who is in our trials, not only in terms of clinical characteristics, but sociodemographic characteristics too. Shaun will focus on trials but the message is relevant for all health research: we need to think more carefully about who we involve.

Read a  summary of the lecture on the NCITA news page.

Talking with patients about sad, bad and just plain difficult things – September 2022

Professor Dame Lesley Fallowfield is Professor of Psycho-oncology at Brighton & Sussex Medical School, University of Sussex where she is Director of the Sussex Health Outcomes Research & Education in Cancer (SHORE-C) group. Clinical trials have become increasingly complex to explain to cancer patients, and the importance of clear and effective communication between healthcare professionals and patients in this area is vital.

In this lecture, Professor Fallowfield will cover her fascinating career, and discuss how her research contributions in psycho-oncology have enabled the measurement of quality of life through clinical treatment trials. She will explain how this has helped patients, and will challenge us to consider how we can improve communications with patients throughout cancer research, clinical trials and treatment.

Read a  summary of the lecture on the NCITA news page.

Striving for Evidence – With and Without a Randomised Controlled Trial – July 2022

Professor Tom Treasure is a Cardiothoracic Surgeon and Honorary Professor in the Clinical Operational Research Unit at University College London. Throughout his clinical career he has run funded randomised controlled clinical studies, randomised patients into multicentre trials led by others, and has been Chief Investigator on his own trials.

In this lecture, Prof. Treasure discusses his experiences of striving to get the evidence to stop a cancer operation that does not help patients and introducing an operation that does. Prof. Treasure explains the perpetuation of a flawed belief, using lung metastasectomy in colorectal cancer as an example. He also illustrates that that not everything is amenable to, or indeed needs, a randomised trial, using Marfan Syndrome as an example.

Read a summary of the lecture on the NCITA news page.

Academia & Industry: What are the Ingredients for Successful Collaborations? – June 2022

Kieran Murphy, former President & CEO of GE Healthcare, has been involved in the life sciences and healthcare industry for more than 30 years. Prof. Evis Sala is the Professor of Oncological Imaging at the University of Cambridge, and co-leads the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Centre Advanced Cancer Imaging Programme and the Integrated Cancer Medicine Programme.

In this online lecture, with interactive Q&A, Kieran Murphy and Prof. Evis Sala discuss their experiences of a successful collaboration between GE Healthcare and The University of Cambridge. They reflect on the drivers for success and the fundamental components that lead to effective cross-functional partnerships. They also discuss what can academia bring to the world of industry, what does industry need from academia, and highlight how we as researchers can work together with industry to drive successful collaborations to accelerate research and transform the diagnosis, treatment and care for cancer patients.

Read a summary of the lecture on the NCITA news page.

Is Pursuing a “Passion for Science” a Position of Privilege? – May 2022

Dr Heather Williams MBE is a Consultant Medical Physicist and Group Leader for Nuclear Medicine at The Christie in Manchester. She is also Director of ScienceGrrl, a grass-roots volunteer collective which is building and strengthening a network of people passionate about passing on their love of STEM to the next generation. Recently she was awarded an MBE in the 2021 New Years’ Honours, for services to diversity and inclusion in science.

Whilst experiencing levels of bias throughout her career, Dr Williams will reflect on how she has also had the opportunity to pursue her passions in research and STEM – opportunities that others may never have had the chance to experience. In this talk, Dr Williams will discuss how these barriers can arise, and will highlight the importance of acknowledging the disadvantages, biases and inequalities that exist in the world of science. She will challenge us to think how we can work together to break down these barriers to ensure everyone can pursue their passion and talent for science.

Read a summary of the lecture on the NCITA news page.

Screening for Cancer: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly – April 2022

Michael Baum, Professor Emeritus of Surgery and visiting Professor of Medical Humanities in University College London (UCL), is a surgical oncologist and expert in breast cancer research. He has devoted his life to improving women’s health. 

Prof. Baum was one of the pioneers of screening for breast cancer in 1987/88 and chaired the National advisory committee for screening for prostate cancer for 15 years. He and his team were also the first to demonstrate the effectiveness of adjuvant tamoxifen for early breast cancer, which has contributed to a 30% reduction in breast cancer mortality.

Since his integral role in the setup of the British National Health Service Breast Screening Program (NHSBSP), Prof. Baum has also been one of its key critics, arguing for several reasons why screening for breast cancer does not necessarily save lives. In this talk, Prof. Baum discusses how breast cancer treatment has changed over the years, why he challenges the breast screening program, and when we as researchers should consider, and question, the wider implications of established and well-known interventions.

Read a summary of the lecture on the NCITA news page.

A Brief Introduction to NCITA

Dr Penny Cristinacce, Research Fellow in the NCITA QA/QC Unit (University of Manchester), gives an introductory presentation to showcase plans for an NCITA MRI core lab at the MR Networking Lounge at the British Irish Chapter (BIC) ISMRM MR-Fest conference in September 2021.

XNAT virtual workshop 2021

NCITA, in partnership with the XNAT Team, the Institute of Cancer Research, and the Health and Bioscience IDEAS (Imaging, Data structures, gEnetics and Analytics Strategies) programme at University College London, hosted the 2021 XNAT virtual workshop on the 13-14th September 2021. As part of the presentations,  Dr Simon Doran, NCITA Repository Unit Manager, and Dr Ramona Woitek , University of Cambridge, presented case studies on ‘Using XNAT in Cancer Imaging Research’. 

For further information about the XNAT workshop, including access to all recordings and poster submissions, click here:  https://wiki.xnat.org/workshop-2021/

Case study: Using XNAT in Ovarian Cancer Imaging

Dr Ramona Woitek, Academic Radiologist at the University of Cambridge, presents a case study in ‘Using XNAT in Ovarian Cancer Imaging’, outlining how her team are u sing XNAT to track imaging data in an effort to detect a particularly malignant and deadly form of ovarian cancer: High Grade Serous Ovarian Cancer (HGSOC).

Case study: Data Challenges for AI in Cancer Research

Dr Simon Doran, NCITA Repository Unit Manager, based at the Institute of Cancer Research, presents a case study in ‘Data Challenges for AI in Cancer Research’, highlighting the challenges of managing data for cancer imaging research, and how XNAT responds to those challenges.

NCITA Nuclear Medicine in Oncology Workshop

On the 27th April 2021, NCITA held a workshop on ‘Nuclear Medicine in Oncology’. The workshop provided a detailed overview of nuclear medicine in oncology, and a mix of researchers, students and managers joined the workshop to learn more about this area.

Introduction to Radiation and Production of PET Radiotracers

In the first of five talks, Dr Maite Jauregui-Osoro, NCITA Imaging QA/QC Manager (Imperial College London) gives an ‘Introduction to Radiation and Production of PET Radiotracers (cyclotron)’. Maite covers ionising radiation and the energy spectrum, how radioactivity is measured, types of positron-emitting radionuclides, production of PET radiotracers and the cyclotron, radiopharmaceutical synthesis, protection against radiation and dose monitoring, sources of radiation exposure, and an overview of regulatory bodies.

Introduction to Radiopharmacy 

In the second of five talks, Dr Jennifer Young, Research Associate in Translational Radiopharmacy in the NCITA Imaging QA/QC unit (King’s College London) gives an ‘Introduction to Radiopharmacy’. Jennifer covers the aseptic manufacture of radiopharmaceuticals labelled with short life radionuclides, radiotracer design, the generation of radiometals within a radiopharmacy and generator production of radionuclides. Jennifer also discusses quality control and quality assurance procedures, synthesis failures, and an overview of staff who work in radiopharmacy.

Peculiarities of Radiopharmaceuticals 

In the third of five talks, Dr Maite Jauregui-Osoro, NCITA Imaging QA/QC Manager (Imperial College London) speaks about the ‘Peculiarities of Radiopharmaceuticals’. Maite covers radiopharmaceutical concentrations, the Investigational Medicinal Product Dossier (IMPD) requirements for clinical trial authorisation using IMPs as well as how products are tested for identity and purity, and the manufacture and release of non-IMP radiotracers.

Nuclear Medicine and PET/CT Imaging: In the Department 

In the fourth of five talks, Edith Gallagher, Research PET/CT Technologist in the NCITA Imaging QA/QC unit (University of Oxford) gives an overview of ‘Nuclear Medicine and PET/CT Imaging in Oncology: In the Department’. Edith provides an overview of Nuclear Medicine and PET/CT study procedures, including what happens in the department before patients arrive; what happens with the patient and an example of some images; and finally the logistics and hurdles when looking at scheduling scans and other as part of a research study.

Legislation and Regulation around Nuclear Medicine 

In the final talk, Dr Daniel McGowan, Principal Clinical Scientist (University of Oxford) gives an introduction to ‘Legislation and Regulation around Nuclear Medicine’. Daniel covered types of background and environmental radiation, UK Radiation Protection Legislation, mitigation and ways of preventing contamination, as well as an overview of Environmental Permitting Regulations (EPR) 2016, Ionising Radiation (Medical Exposure) Regulations (IRMER) 2017 and the application of IRMER aimed at protecting patient from over-exposure or accidental exposure. Daniel also highlighted the Integrated Research Application System (IRAS) for acknowledging the use of ionising radiation in clinical research studies, the UK HRA Radiation Assurance process including the role of the lead Clinical Radiation Expert (CRE) and lead Medical Physics Expert (MPE) and Administration of Radioactive Substances Advisory Committee (ARSAC) regulations.

NCITA and the Translation Manchester Research Network

Dr Penny Hubbard Cristinacce, Research Fellow in the NCITA QA/QC Unit (University of Manchester), provides an overview of how NCITA was formed, what NCITA does, and how NCITA is helping to establish consensus guidelines for the certification and adoption of cancer imaging biomarkers into clinical practice. Penny also highlights the infrastructure support offered by NCITA and its relationship to the translational pathway, and what NCITA can do for the Translation Manchester community.

This introductory presentation was part of the first Webinar of the Translation Manchester Research Network Seminar Series. Translation Manchester brings together a network of support, facilities and expertise to make the pathway to translation quicker and easier. You can find out more about Translation Manchester here.

NCITA Conference 2020

A series of three online summer webinars took place in Summer 2020: the first webinar focused on the optimisation of imaging in the ‘omics’ era; the second webinar focused on optimising image quality; and the third webinar focused on optimising application of imaging in clinical trials 

Optimising imaging in the ‘omics’ era

In the first of a series of three online summer webinars that took place live on 12th June 2020, NCITA’s first seminar is on the topic of Optimizing Imaging in the Omics Era. The panel of speakers includes Professor Eric Aboagye (Imperial College London) and Professor Evis Sala (University of Cambridge) from the NCITA Governance Group, and Dr Simon Doran (Institute of Cancer Research, London) who leads the NCITA Image Repository Unit.

Optimising Image Quality

In the second of a series of three online summer webinars that took place live on 26th June 2020, NCITA’s second seminar is on the topic of Optimizing Imaging Quality. The panel of speakers includes Dr Lucy Pike (King’s College London), Professor John Waterton (University of Manchester) and Dr Maite Jauregui-Osoro (Imperial College London) who leads the NCITA QA/QC Unit.

Optimising Application of Imaging in Trials

In the third of a series of three online summer webinars that took place live on 31st July 2020, NCITA’s final seminar is on the topic of ‘Optimizing Application of Imaging in Trials’. The panel of speakers includes Professor Sue Mallet (UCL), Professor Hashim Ahmed (Imperial College London), and Professor Shonit Punwani (UCL) from the NCITA Governance group.