Contact Us

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02921 845852
Wales Cancer Research Centre,
Room 1TB2 31,
First Floor Main Building,
University Hospital of Wales,
Cardiff, CF14 4XN

Key players

The Cancer Research Strategy for Wales is being developed by the Wales Cancer Alliance, the Wales Cancer Network and the Wales Cancer Research Centre.

Key figures in the strategy development are listed below, along with their contact details.


Ian Lewis - 

Ian is currently the Head of Strategy and Initiatives for the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI), a partnership of 19 of the major UK cancer research funders. Ian joined the NCRI in December 2016, initially asthe Head of Clinical Research Groups. Today, as Head of Strategy and Initiatives, Ian is responsible for implementing NCRI’s strategy and overseeing the strategic initiatives that enable NCRI to accelerate cancer research. His team also work closely with NCRI Partners, and other stakeholders to provide strategic support, data and intelligence.

Prior to joining the NCRI Ian worked at Tenovus Cancer Care as the Director of Research and Policy. During his 10 years at Tenovus Cancer Care he had responsibility for their cancer research funding portfolio, health and wellbeing programmes and development of evidence-based policy. He completed his PhD in 2005 at Cardiff University studying the mechanisms that some breast cancers use to become resistant to common drug treatments.

Andy Champion - 

Andrew has worked in the NHS for almost 30 years, covering a wide range of research and managerial roles. After completing his PhD in radiation oncology in 1997 Andrew spent the next two years as a research scientist in Velindre Hospital under the supervision of Professor Malcolm Mason. At this time major reorganisation of cancer services were underway across the UK and Andrew was appointed Deputy Programme Coordinator at the Cancer Services Coordinating Group (latterly the National Specialist Advisory Group for Cancer) to manage implementation of the Cameron Report and the early NICE Improving Outcomes Guidance across Wales. A strong interest in evidence based medicine led to his next appointment in 2003 as Manager/Director of the NICE cancer clinical guideline development programme, where he set up a centre of excellence consisting of a team of highly skilled specialists that led to the production of over 25 NICE clinical guidelines. In 2016 Andrew left NICE to take up his current role at the Welsh Health Specialised Services Committee (WHSSC) where he is now embedding the evidence-based decision making approach across the organisation.

Malcolm Mason -

Malcolm Mason is Professor of Cancer Studies in the School of Medicine, Cardiff University, UK. He qualified from St Bartholomew’s Hospital and trained in oncology at the Royal Marsden Hospital and Institute of Cancer Research. As a clinical trialist he has played a leading role in some of the most important prostate cancer trials of the last decade, including the Intergroup NCIC/MRC PR3/PR07 study, the MRC STAMPEDE study, and the ProtecT trial. These trials have changed medical practice, and are preventing hundreds of thousands of deaths from prostate cancer per annum worldwide. He founded the Wales Cancer Bank in 2004, which was the first National cancer tissue bank in the UK, and which has now collected samples from over 15,000 patients. Although now retired from clinical practice, he continues to serve on several Trial Management Groups and Trial Development Groups. His experience as a clinical trialist led to his appointment as the Chair of the EORTC’s Independent Data Monitoring Committee which oversees all of their current trials. He also maintains a role in clinical medicine as a member of the European Association of Urology’s Prostate Cancer Guidelines Group, and as a member of the Core Group of the UICC’s TNM cancer staging programme, for which he also Chairs the Evaluation Committee. He has authored over 300 publications, and is still active as a writer, lecturer and reviewer. In 2017 he was appointed OBE in the Queen’s birthday honours for his contribution to cancer research and to the NHS.

Project Team

Rachel Savery -

Rachel was appointed as CReSt Programme Manager in July 2018, following four years as Early Phase Trials Project Manager (ECMC funded), where she worked predominantly across Cardiff University, Velindre Cancer Centre and Cardiff & Vale University Health Board, and was tasked with strategic facilitation of opportunities and supporting partners through from pre-clinical into clinical settings.

As an experienced Project Manager, Rachel has a professional management background working in public sector and multi-agency partnerships in a variety of settings (from NHS and business to third sector and community groups). Experienced in developing and applying strategy and change management approaches, Rachel has also managed large local authority transformation projects to achieve budgetary savings.

Rachel was identified to lead on the development of the first Cancer Research Strategy for Wales on behalf of the WCR, WCN and WCA. Utilising her previous experience and extensive networks, the purpose of the role (through collaboration) is to drive the successful delivery a high quality, innovative strategy that is fit for purpose for patients in Wales and beyond.

Eleanor Webber -

Eleanor joined the Wales Cancer Research Centre in 2018 as a Project Officer to facilitate and support the development of the Cancer Research Strategy for Wales. Eleanor’s post is part funded by Wales Cancer Network; this aspect of her role involves developing and sharing accessible trials recruitment data for the clinical research community.

Eleanor has a background in research, the arts, and arts administration. She has worked with numerous arts organisations including Welsh National Opera, the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and Voluntary Arts Wales. Eleanor has experience supporting high level projects with complex stakeholder groups, and has both planned and conducted qualitative and quantitative research activities.

Ishrat Islam -

Ishrat is a research associate based in the Marie Curie Palliative Care Research Centre at Cardiff University. She has a background in economics, health economics and public health. Her research interests include improving supportive and palliative care; conducting systematic reviews and developing and evaluating behavioural interventions with a focus on reducing socioeconomic inequalities.

Her current research activities involve understanding public attitudes towards death and dying, conducting a scoping review to support developing a cancer research strategy in Wales and identifying psychosocial barriers to physical activity uptake in patients with high grade glioma. She is also involved in Medic Year 1 tutoring and supervising a Medic Year 3 SSC student.

She has experience in working with minority ethnic communities in England and Wales. She had an extensive experience of conducting large scale health care service development related projects and research while working in the Diabetic Association of Bangladesh.


Organisational directors

John Chester - 

John is the Director of the Wales Cancer Research Centre and an academic clinician. His academic roles in the College of Biomedical and Life Sciences at Cardiff University include Professor of Oncology in the School of Medicine, and Lead for the College’s Cancer Research Theme. His clinical work is as Honorary Consultant in Medical Oncology at the Velindre Cancer Centre in Cardiff.

John’s clinical practice has predominantly been in bladder cancer, germ cell tumours and head/neck cancers, and he has specialist clinical research interests in trials for bladder and head/neck cancers, and in stratified medicine. His laboratory research interests include virus-mediated gene therapy and molecular biomarkers of response to cancer therapy.

Amongst his various other roles are: Lead for the Cardiff Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC); strategic lead for the Velindre Cancer Centre Phase I trials unit; and Deputy Director of the Wales Cancer Bank. He serves on Cancer Research UK’s New Agents Committee and the Advisory Board for its Centre for Drug Development. He also sits on the Management Board of Welsh National Research Network for Life Sciences.

Tom Crosby - 

Tom Crosby is Director of Clinical Systems Transformation at Velindre Cancer Centre and Medical Director of the Wales Cancer Network. Tom has been based in Velindre Cancer Centre since 2008, and has specialised in lung, breast and gastrointestinal Cancer during that time, currently specialising in upper GI cancer. 

Tom leads in Upper GI Oesophageal Chemo-radiotherapy Research, Service and Development in the UK. He has been Chair of the NCRI Upper GI Chemo-radiotherapy Subgroup, Chief Investigator to the series of UK Multi-centre SCOPE trials (SCOPE1, NeoSCOPE and SCOPE 2) supported by CRUK, run through WCTU), Lead of the Royal College Radiology Site Oriented Network, Oncology Lead for the UK National Oesophago-Gastric Cancer Audit.

As clinical lead for the Wales Cancer Network Tom has established a clinical advisory structure based on Health Board and site specific clinical leads, written a national MDT Charter and clinically led Peer Review of Cancer Services in Wales. Tom is the cancer clinical lead for the Cancer Implementation Group and Chairs the Information Subgroup which oversees the development of information needs and performance measures for the Cancer Delivery Plan.

Tom has been an examiner for the Royal College Radiology Part 2 Exam and Chair of the UK Cardiff Part 2 FRCR Course.

Tom is currently the clinical lead for the Transformation of Cancer Services Programme in South East Wales. This ambitious and exciting programme will seek to redesign the clinical service model to meet the demands of future care and improve outcomes for patients to match the best of those seen elsewhere in the world.

Richard Pugh -