The Royal Marsden receives global award for breast cancer treatment advances

NEWS - 30TH MAY 2022

Dr Alistair Ring, consultant medical oncologist at The Royal Marsden, on being part of a team recognised for the impact of its clinical and translational research

For the past eight years I’ve been honoured to work for The Royal Marsden, and last year I opened a clinic at The Royal Marsden Private Care diagnostic and treatment facility in Cavendish Square. I specialise in all aspects of breast cancer treatment, with a specific expertise in the management of metastatic and early breast cancer, and cancer in older patients. I couldn’t be prouder to be part of a team that was recently named winner of a Team Science Award from the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), one of the world’s most prestigious team science awards.

The award-winning team is made up of scientists and clinicians from The Royal Marsden and our academic partner, The Institute of Cancer Research, London. We were recognised for our clinical and translational research over the past 10 years, which has led to significant improvements in the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer worldwide.

Dr Alistair Ring

Dr Alistair Ring of The Royal Marsden

Our work has included developing and testing a new type of targeted therapy called PARP inhibitors – discoveries that have led to improvements in treating oestrogen receptor positive breast cancer, and research that allows us to further tailor treatment to each patient. This research included the clinical evidence to justify using liquid biopsies (ctDNA), which identify fragments of DNA from cancer in the blood of patients with the disease. Our research teams have also conducted clinical trials to show that some patients can be treated with fewer radiotherapy doses, as well as identifying through molecular tests a group of patients who can do well without chemotherapy. Being able to identify these patients is at the heart of tailoring and personalising therapy. It’s about finding the right treatment for the right person. 

The majority of findings that we have presented over the last five to 10 years are in patients with incurable disease, but we have been able to prolong their survival while maintaining the best possible quality of life. In the next five years we will be increasingly applying these treatments to patients with earlier cancer and hopefully increasing the number of people who can be cured.

The Royal Marsden’s involvement in research means our patients get the opportunity to be offered entry onto research trials. It also means that our standard of clinical practice is up to date with the latest pioneering treatments. As early adopters of these new treatments, by the time a new drug therapy or radiotherapy technique becomes available to patients, we have already been using the treatment for a few years. Because we are leading the clinical trials, we are comfortable about implementing these treatments into our clinical practice, we know how to manage the side effects, and ready to give them to our patients promptly so that they can benefit.

It’s an honour to be able to give breast cancer patients the best possible treatment and care. Patients are at the centre of everything we do.