Staff Profile: Clare Peckitt

Clare Peckitt is The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust’s Clinical Trials Unit (RM CTU) Manager for Statistics and Programming. The RM CTU is set up to facilitate the running of clinical trials at the hospital.

The NIHR Biomedical Research Centre at The Royal Marsden and the ICR has made it possible for Clare to be part of and collaborate with the NIHR Statistics group, which supports statisticians whose work is at the heart of ground-breaking health research.

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Pictured: Clare Peckitt
Pictured: Clare Peckitt

What are the responsibilities of your role?

My team is responsible for providing expertise to help design and analyse clinical trials, and create robust, secure, efficient databases required for any studies that The Royal Marsden sponsors.

In addition to overseeing statistical aspects of the trials at the hospital, I sit on the Committee for Clinical Research. This involves reviewing protocols for research trials from a statistics point of view to ensure they are suitable for sponsorship.

Which areas of research are you involved in?

The RM CTU includes ten statisticians and six programmers. We provide statistical and database expertise to all of the different clinical units within the Trust, e.g., Breast, Sarcoma, Paediatric etc. When any units want to run any research studies, they come to us with a hypothesis and we help them design a study that can answer the hypothesis. Our job is to ensure that studies are designed and analysed appropriately, so results are reportable and unbiased. This is the data you would see in related publications or scientific journals.

A lot of the research I’ve personally been involved with has been related to GastroIntestinal (GI) cancers, as I started my journey at The Royal Marsden as a trial statistician within the GI unit. For example, I helped with the design of the protocol, case report forms and database for the TRACC (Tracking mutations in cell free tumour DNA to predict Relapse in eArly Colorectal Cancer) and PLATFORM (Planning treatment for oesophago-gastric cancer: a randomised maintenance therapy trial) trials, which received funding support from the NIHR and industry retrospectively. The new phase of TRACC  started in 2020 and over the next four years, it aims to investigate whether a blood test can identify which bowel cancer patients will benefit from chemotherapy following surgery and if standard treatment can be de-escalated.

How has the BRC supported your work?

The BRC has provided funding for some of the staff in my team. The additional resource has meant we are better able to facilitate the running of clinical trials, which ultimately underpins innovations in cancer care and treatment. Outside of that, being a part of the BRC has meant that my team and I have been able to be a part of the NIHR Statistics group. The group provides the opportunity for applied statisticians, clinicians and scientists to collaborate, and aims to promote the uptake of the most appropriate statistical methodology and facilitates networking opportunities to share best practices.

What does the future hold for cancer research?

I think we’ll start to focus more on precision medicine and targeted therapies to provide more personalised treatment. As treatment is becoming more personalised, more trial designs are surfacing, and it’ll be interesting to see new innovations in this area. The great part about working in the hospital is that you get to see the results of research trials, and it’s really rewarding to see how you’re helping patients involved in research trials, as well as future patients.

NIHR Statistics Group

The NIHR Statistics Group supports NIHR statisticians and provides them opportunities to network, collaborate and share expertise. The group works with individuals in the MRC Trial Hubs, pharmaceutical companies and UK academic institutions. 

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