Carolyn and Lucy from the Research and Development Team at the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital in Birmingham explain more about their involvement in the Infrastructure Grants.

Can you tell us a bit about your role and your involvement in the Infrastructure grants?

The Royal Orthopaedic Hospital has been awarded essential infrastructure funding from the Bone Cancer Research Trust to help us grow our tissue collection capabilities which are the foundations of many of our bone tumour research programmes. We worked closely with colleagues Professor Lee Jeys (Consultant Orthopaedic Oncology Surgeon) and Dr Graham Caine (Head of Pathology) to identify gaps in the current resources and ways in which these could be addressed to ensure that we can collect tissues from all patients who have consented to take part in our growing portfolio of bone cancer research programmes. We realised that resource had to be dedicated to two key areas to coordinate tissue based studies, and to support the surgeons in theatre to prepare the research samples and manage all of the associated administration. Our team works closely with the wider orthopaedic oncology team and with the research nurses to ensure that there is a seamless process in place to deliver research tissues that are of the highest quality to enable this vital research.

Why do you think it's so important for the Bone Cancer Research Trust to fund tissue sample collections?

Having access to many different types of bone tumour tissues which are well preserved and therefore of high quality enables scientists to undertake important research into what causes these tumours to develop, which biological factors influences treatment response and how we can improve our ability to detect bone cancers and predict patient outcomes. This research can help us to develop a deeper understanding of the causes and behaviours of these types of tumour and therefore in the long term, better more targeted treatments. With the additional insights gained from whole genome profiling and the 100,000 Genomes Project we may also be able to develop much more personalised treatment pathways for patients with bone tumours in the future.

What difference do you think the Infrastructure Grants will make for patients?

Without this infrastructure it is likely that far fewer tissues would be collected for research purposes within the Trust and those collected may not be received by the researchers in an optimum condition. Research samples need additional documentation and different collection, storage, transportation, processing and preparation than those taken as part of routine care. By dedicating resource to this process, we can ensure that these aspects are delivered in accordance with ethically approved protocols and in line with the patients’ wishes.

Is there a message you would like to send to our supporters?

We would like to express our sincere thanks to the BCRT supporters who have made the creation of this essential infrastructure possible. It is already making a difference in our Trust and will give us the capacity and capability to deliver more bone cancer research to the highest quality standards for years to come.

Click here to find out more about the Infrastructure Grants.