Public Engagement

We seek to inform and engage patients and the public with the work of The Specialist Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) for Cancer – from basic science to clinical studies – through a number of different routes.

A patient talks to Dr Natalie Pattison, Clinical Nursing Research Fellow at The Royal Marsden.

Clinical studies

Seamless integration of research into daily clinical practice ensures that patients are actively informed of opportunities to participate in clinical research and routinely asked to consent to provide tissues for future research within The Specialist BRC for Cancer. Our current clinical trials can be found on our Clinical Trials site.

The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, in partnership with the South West London Cancer Research Network, hosts a Consumer Research Panel which is committed to patient and public involvement (PPI) in clinical research. The consumers taking part are both patients and carers representing a variety of ethnic backgrounds and age groups. The group currently meets three times annually, but utilises electronic and other forms of communication all year round. In addition, half day training sessions have continued in collaboration with South West Surrey and Hampshire (SWSH) groups. The Consumer Research Panel continues to be involved in the pre-trial review of research proposals and patient information sheets, and one member has been invited to be a member of a trial management group. The work completed on patient information sheets has resulted in changes being made to information given to patients who consider participation in research.


The Joint Annual Research Report is an ICR and Royal Marsden joint publication, which includes detailed reviews of exciting developments in selected areas of research.

The Royal Marsden’s Annual Report provides a summary of The Royal Marsden’s activities that include key achievements, governance and detailed financial information.

The ICR’s Annual Review gives an overview of the ICR’s activities, which includes research and fundraising, as well as a summary of financial information.

In Cancer Genetics, we developed a patient information booklet for BRCA mutation carriers in conjunction with Macmillan Cancer Care and patient groups. As part of the booklet, there is a patient feedback form and we will collate this data over the next year.

Patient and Carers Advisory Group (PCAG) Seminar

A unique Members’ Event held on 28 April gave Members the chance to tour the Centre for Molecular Pathology (CMP) in Sutton and see at first hand what happens in the laboratories. Together with our academic partner The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR), The Royal Marsden is the country’s only NIHR Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) for cancer. The event began with an introduction into the importance of the BRC by its Assistant Director, Dr Rowena Sharpe. Professor Mitch Dowsett, Head of the CMP and Head of Academic Biochemistry, then gave a presentation about the ‘Philosophy of the Centre for Molecular Pathology’. 

Following this, Dr Lisa Thompson, Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory Manager and a senior Clinical Scientist, delivered a presentation explaining what happens to the sample once it has been taken from a patient, before Members embarked on their behind-the scenes tour of the CMP. Dr Thompson said: “I found the event enjoyable and rewarding. It was nice to see how appreciative Members are about the work we do here.” Members met specialists who described the processes that they follow in molecular diagnostics, immunophenotyping, histopathology, fluorescence in situ hybridisation (FISH) and the ICR’s drug discovery laboratories. The presentations from the event are available to view online on the Royal Marsden website.

A one-day Research Seminar for members of The Royal Marsden’s Membership Council and Patient and Carers Advisory Group (PCAG) was held in 2009. This comprised sessions on the research process highlighting the role of The Specialist BRC for Cancer in translating the findings from the laboratory into clinical practice, and resulted in active discussion on how research is managed, funded and prioritised. The seminar provided training and information to enable the Membership Council and PCAG to be able to take a more informed, active role in research strategy, governance and management.

Agendas, minutes and documents from recent PCAG meetings are available to download.

Drug Development Unit Open Day

The Drug Development Unit conducted an open day for patients and their families, health-care professionals and others involved in patient welfare in early Phase clinical trials related to the development of new anti-cancer drugs. The meeting provided patients and their families with an opportunity to learn more about The Specialist BRC for Cancer drug development and Phase I clinical trial activity. It explored the differing perceptions of Phase I trials between clinician and patient, with an aim of identifying unmet areas of research and identifying opportunities for improving the patient experience in early Phase trials.

Public Engagement

Public Engagement