I am a Medical Oncology Registrar at Guys and St Thomas’ Foundation Trust. I started working as a clinical fellow in the MRC CTU at UCL after completing my ST4 year in Sept 2018. I completed my MD(res) in August 2023 and now have an Academic Clinical Lecturer role in order to continue research alongside my clinical training.
Oncology practice is driven by research and evidence, and I always wanted the opportunity to contribute to this. However, I felt that my personality and skills would be better suited to a research project in a more clinical environment as opposed to a science laboratory or a bioinformatic project.
In my role, I contribute to the trial management team for each trial, and I am involved with a wide range of activities.
The opportunity to work in a clinical trials unit with the track record of the MRC CTU at UCL was just too good to miss. The MRC CTU at UCL has completed large trials that have changed clinical practice for multiple cancer types and improved outcomes for patients around the world. In addition, the ethos of the MRC CTU at UCL is to strive towards stepwise improvements in clinical trial design, to address important clinical research questions more efficiently. Therefore, working here goes beyond conducting “more of the same” trials but towards incorporating innovation and progress into each new project.
In my role, I contribute to the trial management team for each trial, and I am involved with a wide range of activities. These include answering clinical queries about the trial, planning and delivering teaching sessions, and writing posters and papers for publications.
Aside from my role within the trial teams, I have time designated for research. This allowed me the time required to complete my MD(res) and now I am working on developing a new clinical trial as well as working on several smaller research projects.
As an oncology trainee, we practise at the cutting edge of medicine, interpreting and reacting to emerging research. Understanding and being involved in clinical trials are essential skills for all oncologists and working in a clinical trials unit provides the experience required to be confident with this.
Working in a multidisciplinary team, I have had the opportunity to develop leadership and management skills. In addition, working at the MRC CTU at UCL and being involved with many international phase 3 trials has given me the opportunity to work alongside and learn from an amazing group of internationally-recognised experts, including clinicians, statisticians and methodologists.
Being a Clinical Research Fellow is quite a different pace of life in comparison to clinical work. Having time to keep up to date with emerging research, encouragement to write posters and presentations and the time and support to attend conferences has been invaluable.
Working in a multidisciplinary team, I have had the opportunity to develop leadership and management skills.
Since I joined the Unit, I have contributed to many publications, including those from the STAMPEDE trial and I have also led a project comparing the quality of life in men treated with docetaxel or abiraterone in the STAMPEDE trial, which was published in 2021.