Cancer Research UK held a FORUM Workshop with the Academy of Medical Sciences in February 2018. Over 60 participants were welcomed to this multidisciplinary event, including representation from academia, industry, patients, regulators, funders, commissioners and healthcare professionals.
The outcomes from the workshop include:
- To improve the evidence generation of early detection and diagnosis research:
- We need a national repository of longitudinal samples linked to clinical data, to be made available for the discovery and validation of novel diagnostic assays.
- Researchers should develop ‘target product profiles’ for emerging technologies to ensure there is a clear clinical need, defined performance and health economic characteristics.
- To support the planning and delivery of clinical trials for diagnostics, we need infrastructure for the clinical evaluation of diagnostic tests to provide a stable platform of expertise to accelerate progression to the clinic, equivalent to a Clinical Trials Unit (CTU).
- To improve the outcomes of screening trials, researchers should risk-stratify populations to increase surveillance of those that benefit from it and decrease surveillance of those that do not.
- We need health service planners to recognise the real cost-saving benefits of early detection and diagnostic technologies, which are often only evident over a long term, when assessing the economic rationale for adoption of new diagnostics.
- We need a system change in the NHS to focus more on early detection and diagnosis, rather than treatment, in order to fully capitalise on the disruptive potential of novel cancer diagnostic technologies.
- We need a roadmap for the translation of early detection and diagnosis tests, as a resource to support researchers through the various stages, and guidelines for evidence generation, diagnostic development, clinical evaluation, and economic viability.