UCL Cancer Institute


Research highlights

  • Professor Sharma leads a research team in the UCL Cancer Institute that translates discoveries in radiotherapy research in to clinical trials to improve treatment for patients with cancer.  The research team works on radiobiology and new drug-radiotherapy combinations for photon radiotherapy (such as intensity modulated radiotherapy and stereotactic radiotherapy), molecular radiotherapy (with radioisotopes) and proton beam therapy.  At a basic science level, the group has particular expertise in DNA damage repair and targeted drugs that can interfere with those processes in cancer cells.  The team provides state-of-the-art preclinical irradiation facilities for scientific collaborators to use.  At a clinical level, the Sharma team has taken discoveries that can improve local therapies for cancer and translated them in to innovative clinical trials which have included tissue and imaging biomarkers.
  • Professor Sharma leads a collaborative Joint Working Group uniquely made up of academia (NCRI CTRad), the pharma and device industries and patient representatives. This group is working with regulatory bodies to make progress in the combination of new drugs with radiotherapy. In 2016, the Joint Working Group published their first landmark paper of consensus statements that should boost the number of novel drugs being successfully registered in combination with radiotherapy. The aim of this working group is to see more drug-radiotherapy combination studies based on sound scientific radiobiology, and to translate the most promising results from preclinical models in to the most appropriate trial designs to discover better treatments for patients. Feature: Making progress to increase drug-radiotherapy combination treatments.
  • Professor Sharma is the global Chief Investigator for the FOXFIRE clinical trial of liver-directed internal radiotherapy combined with systemic chemotherapy, funded by Cancer Research UK and Sirtex Medical.  This randomised, phase III clinical trial has recruited its target of 364 patients with metastatic colorectal cancer and is now in the follow-up phase.  FOXFIRE will publish overall survival, progression-free survival, translational analyses, quality of life and healthcare economics results in a series of high impact papers to be published from 2017 onwards.  Designed in collaboration with the SIRFLOX study led by Dr Peter Gibbs and Dr Guy van Hazel, the FOXFIRE family of studies represent the largest Interventional Oncology clinical trial ever performed worldwide. 
  • The Selective Internal RadioTherapy (SIRT) Users Network (SUN) was founded by Professor Sharma in 2014.  SUN is a virtual network for clinicians and health professionals involved in the treatment of patients with cancer using SIRT and a 'sister' website was also established for patients, relatives and consumers interested in this highly specialist treatment (www.mysirtstory.org.uk).  SUN expanded from the UK to include Belgium, Spain and Italy in September 2016.
  • Professor Sharma chairs the Data Working Committee on SIRT for NHS England, working collaboratively with the British Society of Interventional Radiology (BSIR), SIRT Registry and The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).  This group is responsible for providing NHS England the data they require from patients treated in the Commissioning through Evaluation programme from 2014 to 2017, to allow a definitive commissioning decision to be made in 2017-18.
  • Professor Sharma is the global Chief Investigator for the EPOCH clinical trial of a form of highly focal liver-directed radiotherapy, sponsored by BTG plc. This randomised, phase III clinical trial is open in more than 20 countries worldwide. This study will recruit more than 300 patients and is expected to report primary and secondary outcomes from 2019 onwards.