CTRT supports a research session for Dr Veronique Bataille, a consultant dermatologist who has a major scientific interest in the genetics of melanoma and predisposing factors of the disease. The influence of the gut microbiome on outcomes in patients receiving immunotherapy is an area of significant major international interest. We are part of a collaborative group headed by Prof Tim Spector at Kings College that has attracted funding to investigate the impact of gut microbial diversity on outcomes in melanoma patients receiving immunotherapy.
We have appointed a research fellow, Dr Karla Lee, to help deliver the project. Dr Lee has registered for a PhD at Kings College and is half-funded by CTRT for a 3-year period starting September 2018. Dr Bataille has led the development of the microbiome project. PRIMM, a biomarker sub-study of the project, has been adopted onto the NCRN national portfolio. They lead research projects on skin phenotype in patients with high risk and metastatic melanoma and a second project analysing the association of the microbiome (gut bacteria) with clinical outcomes in melanoma. CTRT has also provided a grant to enable our outgoing research fellow, Dr Romaana Mir, to perform an analysis of the clinical impact of surveillance scanning in high-risk melanoma and audit outcomes for patients with brain metastases treated with stereotactic radiotherapy. Both studies have been submitted for publication.
Our renal cancer clinical trial portfolio continues to grow. Patients now have the opportunity to access clinical trials in the adjuvant (following surgery) and advanced disease settings. Many of our studies are attempting to identify improved ways to stimulate an effective immune response to cancer in an attempt to gain long term control of the disease. Dr Sharma is the lead investigator on a novel treatment that looks to disrupt the metabolism of renal cancer cells.