International Rare Cancers Initiative
The International Rare Cancers Initiative (IRCI) is strategic collaboration between Cancer Research UK, the UK National Institute for Health Research Cancer Research Network (NCRN), the US National Cancer Institute (NCI), and the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC). The initiative will support the development of international clinical trials for rare cancers.
The initiative was endorsed by Professor Dame Sally Davies (Chief Medical Officer for England, Director General of Research and Development, and Chief Scientific Adviser for the Department of Health and NHS), and receives some financial support from the British Embassy in Washington DC, USA.
The team coordinating the initiative consulted the relevant clinical communities to identify the highest priorities for international collaborations. The resulting list of rare cancers now forms the core of ICRI's activity. The lead clinicians, listed below, help coordinate the work on each cancer:
- Salivary gland cancer (Dr Kevin Harrington, Dr Alan Ho, Dr Lisa Licitra)
- Small bowel adenocarcinoma (Dr Rob McWilliams, Dr Arnaud Roth, Dr Richard Wilson)
- Gynaecological sarcoma (Dr Jean-Yves Blay, Dr Helen Hatcher, Dr Martee Hensley)
- Penile cancer (Dr Steve Nicholson, Dr Curtis Pettaway, Dr Christine Theodore)
- Relapsed/metastatic anal cancer (Professor Dirk Arnold, Dr Al Benson, Dr Rob Glynne-Jones)
- Thymoma (Professor Frank Detterbeck, Professor Mike Lind, Dr Sanjay Popat)
- Ocular melanoma (Dr Richard Carvajal, Dr Ernie Marshall, Professor Poulam Patel)
For each of these rare cancers, the coordinating team has run successful meetings alongside other national and international cancer conferences, such as the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Conference. The researchers working on each of these cancers are currently discussing designs for new clinical trial designs. The IRCI team hopes that many of these ideas will be developed far enough so that they can be submitted for funding to Cancer Research UK or other research funders.