Research is Us

Sussex cancer researchers engaging with patients and the public to present their research

This month, Sussex Cancer researchers gathered with patients and members of the public, to discuss research projects aimed to improve the life of cancer patients in Sussex.

Supported by Macmillan and Sussex Cancer Fund (, the event was held at the Macmillan Horizon Centre in a Cafe Scientifique style – an informal event where people hear research findings and have the chance to ask questions.

Dr Bex Herbertson, the Consultant Medical Oncologist, described the different types of cancer research and clinical trials allowing the group to find out more.

Clinical Trials are a key component of cancer research, and as was explained at the event, “Today’s clinical trials become tomorrow’s treatment”.  The group found out about the different types of clinical trials and which ones are currently underway. There was also discussion about the ModIFY study – a new cancer vaccine currently being trialled.

Dr Hamish Sinclair, a Clinical Oncology Research Fellow, presented his understanding of the gut microbiome in patients undergoing chemo-radiotherapy in partients with specific cancers. He touched on issues relating to rare cancer research and the challenges to overcome.  His talk gave rise to an interesting debate about the importance of food in relation to the microbiome, and its impact on keeping patients well.

There was also a debate about PPI – patient and public involvement and how far patients are now involved in research topics. Some patients in the group attend research forums where their voices can be heard.

Dr Stephen Robinson talked about Glioblastoma – one of the most common malignant brain tumours, and new innovations of liquid biopsies to speed up diagnosis and staging.

This event was an important chance for patients and clinicans to meet informally and to share their experiences, both of research and of being researched. An iterative process that is crucial for cancer research to continue to find answers.

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