NHS Grampian breast cancer research team win prestigious national award
24th April 2023
The National Institute for Health Research’s CREST Award was created to recognise a surgical team that have made the greatest contribution to clinical trials research over the previous year
Out of 18 high-quality applications from across all surgical disciplines, UK-wide, the multi-disciplinary breast team based in Aberdeen’s Royal Infirmary was chosen by the NHIR award judges for excellence in the recruitment of surgical patients to cancer trials. The award committee were particularly impressed with not only how many patients the ARI breast team recruited, but also the diversity of studies and their support for next generation researchers. The team is made up of surgeons, clinical and medical oncologists, radiologists, pathologists and biorepository staff, breast care, advanced oncology and clinical research nurses as well as research administrative staff. Two of the breast surgeons within the team have recently completed NHS Research Scotland Fellowships.
Speaking on behalf of the team, Miss Beatrix Elsberger (Consultant Breast Surgeon) said: “We are absolutely delighted to have been chosen to receive this award, recognising the hard work and dedication of the entire team here at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.
“To achieve what we have, has been a real collaborative effort – not just between clinicians, supporting nursing and admin staff, but also with patients and members of the public. Holding regular educational meetings to provide trials’ updates, and having various local principal investigators from the supporting breast disciplines, has helped to continuously engage every one of the breast team. Frequent public engagement activities have raised the profile of clinical trials within NHS Grampian. We are very grateful to all our breast cancer patients, who are generally interested and incredibly enthusiastic about supporting, and taking part in vital research to gain best evidence for better cancer treatments”.
“We have worked extremely hard on streamlining patient pathways to improve clinical trials’ recruitment, which has been adopted by other centres. Drawing on the diverse knowledge and experience of our team, and working closely with colleagues from universities and other academic institutions, has been instrumental to provide a link between basic science and clinical application. We have also created a platform for conducting local research and feasibility studies.
“This genuinely collaborative environment, where team members meet with research staff from across the Health Board to discuss active trials, identify pitfalls and workshop solutions has helped build a nurturing environment where trainees are supported to become and stay research active – all this contributes to an excellent place to carry out research.”
Professor Jeff Evans, Clinical Lead for the NHS Research Scotland Cancer Network (NRS Cancer), added: “This is really a fantastic achievement by the team. Not only were they the highest recruiter for the recently closed UK wide PRIMETIME trial, they are also now the second highest recruiting site for the international breast surgical trial called ATNEC. Their truly collaborative approach has seen them actively recruiting to a whole range of trials, as well as hosting key UK-wide, portfolio trials and other national projects.
“Their achievement is a testament to their hard work and dedication, and an exemplar of the high-quality clinical research environment for cancer trials that exists in Scotland.”