We interviewed Carolyn Langford, Head of Research, Audit and Development at the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital to find out more about about the role their team and our Infrastructure Grants played in Dr Green's and Dr Finegan's recent research breakthrough that could lead to kinder treatments for osteosarcoma patients.

What role has the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital (ROH) and Infrastructure Grants played in this research finding?

As one of the largest primary bone cancer surgical centres in Europe, the ROH was ideally placed to play a key role in supporting the delivery of this important research. Between 2017 and 2020 ROH’s Research and Development Team, in particular Teresa Brodie, Research Healthcare Technician and Dionne Wortley, Tissue Studies Coordinator together with the Trust Research Nurse team, helped the researchers in enrolling all of the patients with primary bone cancer who were involved in the study. This involved the identification of eligible patients, obtaining the patients informed consent to participate in the study and the meticulous collection of tissue samples and associated clinical data. All of which was supported directly by Bone Cancer Research Trust Infrastructure Grant funding.

The ROH is currently in its third year of a five-year Infrastructure Grant award from the Bone Cancer Research Trust. This award ensures that the essential research staff and processes are in place within the Trust to provide high quality research specimens to projects such as Dr Green and Dr Finegan’s. This supports the collection of samples from patients at the same time they undergo their routine procedures. The Trusts research team work alongside the patients’ healthcare team to deliver the study requirements in line with the patients’ wishes while not impacting on their normal care.

Why are the Infrastructure Grants so important?

Our Infrastructure Grant award has been invaluable in ensuring the consistent, coordinated support is in place for patient screening, consent and research specimen collection. This process can often be time consuming and complex. It requires careful coordination to ensure that the research specimens are handled, labelled, logged, stored and then sent to the research team in-line with the requirements of the study and UK Human Tissues legislation. The award also provides vital funding for project management support in the set-up and delivery of all of the Trusts primary bone cancer research studies which require patient tissue samples. This project management support within Trusts ensures that all operational, legal and ethical requirements are in place and that the study is delivered on time and target.

How does it make you feel knowing the ROH has contributed to this new research finding?

It is very rewarding to see the publication of Dr Green and Dr Finegan’s study and the tremendous contribution that this will undoubtedly make to our understanding of this disease and in the development of new treatments. This project demonstrates the importance of collaborations between the NHS, universities and charities in the delivery of world-class research which will improve outcomes for our patients and many other patients in the future.

The Bone Cancer Research Trust would like to thank the QBE Foundation, Edward Cadbury Charitable Trust, G J W Turner Trust and Bernard Piggott Charitable Trust for their support of this Infrastructure Grant.