CL in Medical Oncology
Dr Lennard Lee
PATHWAY TO A CLINICAL LECTURESHIP
Lennard graduated from the University of Cambridge (2005) and studied clinical medicine at the University of Oxford (2008). He then was very successful in securing nationally competitive research fellowships, including:
- a Medical Research Council Clinical Training Research Fellowship (2013), supervised by Professor Ian Tomlinson at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics;
- a Biomedical Research Centre Clinical Research Training Fellowship at the University of Oxford, with Prof David Kerr (2017);
- a Senior Clinical Research Fellowship at the Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences, University of Birmingham, working with Professor Gary Middleton (2018-2020).
In 2020, Lennard was recruited to Oxford University as a result of:
- his expertise in the generation, utilisation and delivery of population-scale, real-world evaluation studies;
- his expertise in innovative hybrid clinical studies;
- his work as part of the UK coronavirus cancer pandemic response.
WHAT HAS THE WORK INVOLVED?
Lennard’s initial work as a CL at Oxford focused on maximising the safety of cancer care during the pandemic through his leadership of the UK Coronavirus Cancer Monitoring Project (UK CCMP).
THE UK CCMP
The UK CCMP is a population-based, real-world evaluation of every coronavirus case in cancer patients, an evaluation that provided the knowledge to monitor, safeguard and provide the highest levels of protection. The project was set up in 100 hours and linked 69 cancer centres across the United Kingdom.
The project was the first to demonstrate that chemotherapy could be safely delivered during the coronavirus pandemic. It reversed the decline in chemotherapy treatment, identified those most at risk and led to long-lasting positive clinical benefit globally. It remains the most active COVID/cancer research programme, with 12 research outputs to date. Lennard was awarded the national ACP McElwain Prize for his contributions to the pandemic response for cancer patients.
Groundbreaking trial designs
Lennard also developed expertise in ground-breaking trial designs. As part of his strategic CL, he is expanding the capabilities of the University of Oxford in delivering population-scale, real-world evaluation studies and innovative hybrid clinical trials. His programmes of work will maximise levels of protection for cancer patients during the coronavirus pandemic. Additionally, they will provide the opportunity to increase early diagnoses for cancer and potentially bring about a transformational shift in cancer outcomes in the UK.
Lennard's work has included:
- The Falcon C-19 Moonshot - Hybrid studies are characterised by population-scale recruitment and real-time results acquisition and analysis, providing the highest quality evaluations in the most efficient manner. Lennard levered the advantages of this study type to generate the evidence for a new form of coronavirus diagnostics, the lateral flow test. This was through the Falcon C-19 Moonshot study. With Lennard as a deputy co-lead at the UK Department of Health, the study developed lateral flow tests from an unproven research tool to a test widely available across the NHS, the UK and globally;
- The NHS-Galleri study - More recently, as national innovation project lead at NHSE, Lennard is helping to deliver hybrid cancer studies as part of the NHS-Galleri study team. This study evaluates a new blood test that can diagnose 50 types of cancer. Utilising a hybrid design, the study is one of the fastest-recruiting studies globally.
Oxford University is a wonderful research institution to work in. There are an incredible number of talented individuals working in the institution. To date, Lennard has had the unparalleled opportunity of working alongside incredible clinical academic leaders, like Prof. Mark Middleton, Prof. Derrick Crook, Prof. Tim Peto and Prof. Sir John Bell.
We have shown ourselves adaptive and incredibly responsive to nationally prioritised research areas. Examples of what Oxford can achieve are:
- the incredible progress that Oxford has pioneered in mass testing, vaccine development and clinical trials for hospital patients with COVID-19. This is in addition to accelerating progress with cancer early-diagnostic tests;
- research programmes that Lennard helped deliver since the beginning of his CL (see above), through which Oxford has helped establish the paradigm of mass testing. This example of diagnostics acceleration has identified millions of additional COVID-19 cases that might not otherwise have been detected. Similar programmes of work are now being established for early cancer diagnostics.
These experiences will give Oxford University new tools and strategies to implement practice-changing research programs to deliver clinical benefit at pace.
It is fantastic that Oxford University is in a unique position to help bring about a transformational shift in cancer outcomes in the UK.