This month the Speaker of the House, Rt Hon John Bercow MP kindly hosted a high-profile policy dinner for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research at Speaker’s House at the Palace of Westminster.
The aim of the event was to introduce policy stakeholders to Trials Acceleration Programme (TAP) – an innovative programme designed to give blood cancer patients faster and wider access to early stage clinical trials.
It was also an opportunity to share the TAP’s early successes and the fact that the Government report UK Life Science One Year On praised its innovative structure that brings the NHS, academia, charity and pharmaceutical industry together.
That TAP resonates well with the current policy thinking around clinical trials was demonstrated by a good cross-party turn out from senior parliamentarians, including Stephen Dorrell MP, Chair of the Health Select Committee, Andrew Miller MP, Chair of Science and Technology Committee and George Freeman MP, Government Advisor on Life Sciences. The event was also attended by researchers pioneering TAP’s approach and several government health agencies.
The discussion focused on integration of the new NHS structures and UK life science sector and the importance of translational medicine for both health and wealth of the nation. Industry spoke of benefits of TAP so far, including 50% reduction in setting up of the trials and significant reduction in cost per patient. There was a general consensus that TAP’s patient-centred approach to clinical trials is key to bringing medical discovery more closely to the clinical environment. Ultimately, that means making new treatments more accessible to patients that need them.
What was really encouraging on the evening was the enthusiasm from health agencies as well as parliament and government representatives to share the lessons from TAP and replicate the model across other cancers and other diseases. Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research Policy and Public Affairs team will be busy with following up on those leads over the coming months.