An oncologist’s experience of working on Covid-19 research
Project leader: Dr Lennard Lee, Clinical Lecturer in Medical Oncology
Lennard’s research interests include developing a greater understanding of the molecular determinants of metastatic (or stage IV) cancer, dissecting the importance of the human immune repertoire in cancer progression.
However, since COVID-19, an increasing amount of his work is supporting Oxford University’s major COVID-19 research programs.
Lennard has set up the UK Coronavirus Cancer monitoring project, which is a national project that pioneers the use of a clinician-led reporting project to enable tracking of cancer patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 across the United Kingdom. This project has enabled direct real-time daily updates back to individual Cancer Centres and has answered many critical questions required to safeguard cancer patients.
Lennard is also working with Prof Derrick Crook, Prof Richard Body, Prof Tim Peto and Sir John Bell in establishing the paradigm of mass-testing using rapid tests for COVID-19. He was the Project Delivery Lead for the Falcon-MoonShot research program. This multi-centre study established the utility of lateral flow viral antigen detection devices for COVID-19. The study recruited 878 individuals in 36 days, making it the fastest recruiting UK COVID-19 testing project. It led to clinical practice change in 40 days. This study ushered in city-wide mass testing evaluations in Liverpool and across the North of England, resulting in the identification of thousands of individuals with asymptomatic disease. This study and subsequent work by Lennard also provided proof of principle to bring access to rapid tests to 250,000 NHS staff and 2.4 million UK students.