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  • Early phase studies in areas including small molecule inhibitors, immunotherapy, gene therapy, endocrine therapy and other novel agents;
  • Biomarker discovery and validation and molecular analysis of clinical samples.

To support these objectives LEDDU is led by Professor Daniel Palmer (Chair Medical Oncology), Dr Syed Hussain (Clinical Senior Lecturer, Medical Oncology) and Professor Carlo Palmieri (Chair Translational Oncology) and is underpinned by collaborative working of the Liverpool Cancer Research Centre, which provides a robust governance structure including Good Clinical Practice Laboratories (GCLP) and GCLP biobanking.

LEDDU was formed in May, 2011 following the establishment of Academic Medical Oncology at the University of Liverpool with the appointments of Palmer and Hussain and, latterly, Palmieri. The Unit will be further enhanced by the appointment of two additional Clinical Senior Lecturers in Medical Oncology in 2014.

LEDDU plays a central role in facilitating the translational interface between basic scientific research and the clinic to produce an integrated translational research program, in which basic research identifies novel drug targets which then can be tested in clinical trials. Drug development, biomarker and drug resistance studies carried out as part of these trials can then feed back to the laboratory to direct new areas for both clinical and basic research.

LEDDU runs and, in collaboration with the ECMC Network participates in, high quality early phase trial activity. In order to facilitate this, LEDDU has recently integrated in to the organisational structure of the Liverpool CR UK Cancer Trials Unit (LCTU) and will continue to develop as a subsection of the Unit’s activities, benefitting from shared document management systems, governance, monitoring, pharmacovigilance and Information Systems expertise, with more comprehensive data collection being achieved through the recent adoption of the EDGE system by the Cheshire and Merseyside Research Network. Additionally, CCC has recently committed to expanding GCLP biobanking capability through the establishment of an ‘opt out’ serum biobank to facilitate stratified medicine approaches by studying the profiles of responders versus non-responders to various forms of treatment and will underpin ongoing biomarker research utilising circulating tumour cells and nucleic acids.

Research capability of LEDDU has also been enhanced by the recent MHRA accreditation for Phase I activity in the Clinical Research Facility of the Royal Liverpool Hospital, the first NHS organisation in England to achieve this status.

Research nurse and data management support for LEDDU studies is currently funded by RLUH and CCC.