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What is the International Clinical Fellowship Support Program?
Breast Cancer Trials International Clinical Fellowship Support aims to financially assist promising junior researchers to gain international experience and connections.
Breast Cancer Trials (BCT) is a bi-national organisation that aims to improve breast cancer outcomes through clinical trials. Our research successes over the last 40 years are founded on active contributions from our membership and collaboration with our international partners.
Fellows work on projects that are directly relevant to BCT that potentially involve:
- Research areas of future trials including background and pilot work;
- Work on existing or future BCT clinical trials;
- Further analysis of data from existing trials; and
- Participation in trial meetings to drive the research as directed by our strategy.
Dr Julia Dixon-Douglas has been awarded support in the first year of the program and is heading to Institut Gustave Roussy, Villejuif, France.
The fellowship is primarily a research fellowship, with the opportunity to attend Breast Cancer and Early Drug Development trial clinics on a weekly basis. The aim of this research is to investigate the impact of novel breast cancer treatments on tumour biology, the tumour microenvironment and peripheral immunity, with the ultimate aim of uncovering new biomarkers of response and resistance to identify strategies to optimise response to novel therapies.
In recent years, multiple novel therapies including immune checkpoint inhibitors, antibody drug conjugates and oral small molecule inhibitors have been approved for the treatment of breast cancer. An improved understanding of which patients will derive the greatest benefit from these treatments, and in what sequence or combinations they should be used, is required to implement novel therapies in the clinic without unnecessary increase in toxicity or financial burden. Samples from patients treated with novel therapies on large clinical trials at IGR provide an invaluable repository for addressing these questions through translational research. This research will be supported by technical expertise from Prof André and his team, who have a track record of biomarker discovery.
Ultimately, the findings from such research will be applied to refine future clinical trial design, both in terms of patient selection and identification of more effective combinations or sequencing of therapies. In this way, both translational research and international collaboration are essential for successful and efficient clinical trial design, making this an important opportunity for a BCT member, particularly with respect to future BCT trials.