RCS Surgical Specialty Leads in Pancreatic Cancer and Oesophageal Cancer appointed

The RCS has appointed two new RCS Surgical Specialty Leads (SSLs). The appointments have been made in collaboration with the AUGIS, leading pancreatic cancer charities and Heartburn Cancer UK.

Mr Keith Roberts is the new SSL in Pancreatic Cancer, part-funded by the Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund and Pancreatic Cancer UK. He took up his post at the start of September. Professor Tim Underwood has been appointment as the new SSL in Oesophageal Cancer, part-funded by Heartburn Cancer UK and AUGIS.

The RCS Surgical Trials Initiative, with key partners, will provide a broad base of support for the SSLs. The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) surgical specialty group will provide an infrastructure to ensure wide publicity for national participation in these portfolio studies.

Professor Dion Morton, RCS Director of Clinical Research, said: “The RCS is delighted to be working with AUGIS and three new funders in Pancreatic Cancer Research UK, Pancreatic Cancer Relief Fund and Heartburn Cancer UK. The support of these partners in creating the two exciting new Surgical Specialty Lead positions will build on our work in driving clinical research in all specialties and will, as a result, impact on the care being provided to patients suffering from Oesophageal and Pancreatic Cancers.”

The Surgical Specialty Leads will act as a key link between the designated Surgical Trials Centres and national clinical research networks within their disciplines. They will work with the Centres to develop clinical networks, train surgical investigators and deliver clinical trials.

They will also work towards establishing two new trials over their first three-year tenure and train at least one surgical chief investigator, as well as 20 principal investigators within their discipline.

Commenting on his appointment, Mr Roberts said: “I will bring together clinicians and trainees to develop and deliver multicentre studies with the aim of improving the delivery of care to patients with pancreatic cancer as well as developing novel strategies to tackle this disease.”

Professor Underwood said of his appointment: “This is an exciting opportunity to help shape the future of upper GI surgical research. It is clear to me that we must build own the successes of the regional trainee collaboratives and large-scale snap-shot audits to drive the next generation of surgical trials.

“With the support of Heartburn Cancer UK and AUGIS, I will facilitate a new cadre of surgical researchers who will deliver practice changing trials. This is an exciting time to bring together advances in molecular and translational science and surgery.  We aim to place UK surgeons at the forefront of world-leading surgical research over the next decade.”

Richard Hardwick, AUGIS Past-President, said: “AUGIS is delighted to be working with Heartburn Cancer UK, Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund and Pancreatic Cancer UK to support these new senior research posts.

“For too long the deadliest common cancer has been neglected. We must see research investment vastly increase to £25 million a year by 2022 if we’re to unlock the breakthroughs urgently needed to improve survival.”

Mimi McCord, chair of Heartburn Cancer UK, said: “Heartburn Cancer UK is very pleased to join AUGIS in funding the SSL in Oesophageal Cancer. We hope that it will help make a significant difference to the lives of OC patients who, at the present time, have a poor prognosis due to late diagnosis when surgery is either not an option or is unsuccessful due to further metastatic disease.”

Maggie Blanks, Chief Executive of Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund, said: “Our focus will always be to use research to increase the survival rate for pancreatic cancer. We’re happy to co-fund this role because it provides leadership and support in developing clinical trials to test surgical innovations and practices that could improve patient outcomes – areas in which Professor Roberts has both passion and experience.”

Training opportunity

The 11th Annual Laparoscopic Training Day will be held on Friday, 26 October 2018, Musgrove Park Academy, Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust.

This Training Day is aimed at Consultant Surgeons and Trainees. The Laparoscopic Training Day will include procedures being projected to the Academy Lecture Theatre live from the operating theatres at Musgrove Park Hospital, Taunton, as well as presentations.

Course Organisers: Prof Giles Toogood (Pres-Elect AUGIS) Mr Richard Welbourn, Mr Paul Mackey, Mr Simon Dexter (President ALSGBI) Mr David Mahon, Mr Hamish Noble

To register for this FREE training day email postgrad.centre@tst.nhs.uk /   tel 01823 342430.





Could you be the new AUGISt rep?

AUGIS Council is seeking nominations for the role of AUGIS Trainee Representative from September 2018. The primary role of Trainee Representative involves attending AUGIS Council meetings, chairing the AUGISt committee, writing for the AUGIS Newsletter and contributing to the Training Day.  There are also other responsibilities that arise on an ad hoc basis from both ASiT and AUGIS.

If you wish to be considered for the role of AUGIS Trainee Representative, an expression of interest should be to Mr Adrian O’Sullivan, Honorary Secretary of AUGIS, c/o Nichola Bartlett (nichola@augis.org). You must be a current paid up Trainee Member of AUGIS and AUGIS/BOMSS.

Applicants will also require a proposer and seconder, who should also both be current Trainee Members and must email their support to Nichola Bartlett (nichola@augis.org) prior to the closing date.

The deadline for nominations is 9am, Thursday 27 July.  If more than one person is nominated for the position a ballot will take place and nominees will be required to provide a 100 word personal statement to accompany the ballot.


Sign up for the ASM

We hope to see you at the forthcoming AUGIS Annual Scientific Meeting which will take place from Wednesday 19 – Friday 21 September at the Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh.

The provisional Scientific Programme is available online at: www.augis.org/2018conference/scientific-programme/

You can find out more about the meeting including how to submit an abstract  – the closing date for the submission of Abstracts is 9am on Monday 2nd July.

If you have not already done so you can now register for AUGIS (at the Early Rate) by going to: https://members.augis.org/Events/Event-Booking/EventId/5

Remember that to receive your appropriate Membership Discount, you will need to make a note of your Membership number as will be asked for your it when you register.

All other details including information on the venue and hotel options can also be found on the Meeting Microsite: www.augis.org/2018conference/


Make a booking for Edinburgh

The AUGIS Council is looking forward to welcoming you to the 21st Annual Scientific Meeting which will take place from 19 – 21 September at the Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh. There will be a Gala Dinner at the National Museum of Scotland on the Thursday evening.

When booking your leave, flights etc please note that the meeting will start at lunchtime on Wednesday, 19 September and finish at lunchtime on Friday, 21 September. In addition, there will be dedicated workshops on the morning of Wednesday 19 for Trainees, CNSs and AHPs.

The final programme will be published shortly but we have a host of great speakers including Takeshi Sano, Rob Padbury, Don Low, John Windsor to name but a few. Keep track of the ASM at www.augis.org/2018conference


International Oesophago-Gastric Symposium

The 16th International Oesophago-Gastric Symposium will take place on 9 March in London.
An expert faculty will discuss the optimal techniques of performing minimal access cancer, anti-reflux, achalasia, bariatric and gallstone surgery. Expert surgeons will share their experience and lead discussion among participants about the merits of 2D laparoscopic visualisation, versus 3D with hands-on laparoscopy, versus 3D with robotic assistance, versus flexible endoscopic surgery.
There is a discounted rate for trainees and registration can be made online at https://tinyurl.com/iogs2018/. If you have any queries email academia.bbmuk@bbraun.com

Views needed on HPB research focus

Please complete the following survey aimed at identifying research priorities in Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary surgery – https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/HPBdelphi

This study is supported by the GBIHPBA committee.

Following the collation of round 1 responses, a further two rounds will be performed through the GBIHPBA membership for prioritisation scoring. It is hoped that the final list of prioritised research questions will inform the direction of HPB surgery over the coming years.

Contact the project lead with any queries or to request the study protocol at stephenknight@doctors.org.uk.

HPB Delphi Steering Group
Mr Stephen Knight
Mr Samir Pathak
Mr Jonathan Rees
Mr Philip Whelan
Mr Ewen Harrison
Mr Mark Taylor

Upper Gastro-Intestinal surgeon receives major national research funding for translational science

AUGIS member, Tim Underwood, has achieved the notable accolade of becoming the first surgeon to be awarded an Advanced Clinician Scientist Fellowship by Cancer Research UK.

Tim, Professor of Gastrointestinal Surgery at the University of Southampton, trained in London and Wessex. He completed a PhD in molecular biology and took an NIHR Clinical Lectureship in Surgery in 2008. In 2011, he was awarded a Medical Research Council Clinician Scientist Fellowship. He became a Cancer Research UK & Royal College of Surgeons of England Advanced Clinician Scientist Fellow in April 2017.

He leads a programme of research which studies the role of the tumour microenvironment in the development and progression of cancer. Other areas of interest include the metabolic regulation of gene expression in oesophageal malignancy and the influence of exercise on the response to therapy, including surgery.

The award of £1.4 million will be used to support his group’s study of cancer ecosystems. Advanced technology is used to evaluate cellular interaction in oesophageal cancer; including genome-wide expression profiling of single cells using nanolitre droplets and the generation of multicellular organoid models. Through investigation of the molecular determinants of the response to chemotherapy, Tim anticipates that new therapies which target the tumour microenvironment will be developed, enhancing the efficacy of conventional treatments. He believes that the time is right for a radical change in cancer management, with surgery being personalised to individual patients based on the specific genetics of their own tumours and the host response to cancer.

For the majority of solid organ tumours, surgery is central to the chance of a cure, yet basic scientific research relating to surgery has often been overlooked in favour of studies pertaining to chemotherapy or radiotherapy. At present, many patients do not survive despite radical multimodal therapy.

Tim anticipates that his research could improve outcomes with directed multimodal therapy in selected patients. He foresees the potential to increase the chance of cure from oesophageal cancer to 50% in selected patients. Similarly, it will identify those patients who are unlikely to survive despite being identified as potentially curable under present staging. In his words “we will operate more on fewer patients, with greater success”. In order to achieve this, cancer management will become more collective and less the responsibility of individual institutions.

The successful award is based on eight years of research. Much of this has been achieved using a collaborative approach. For example, work with the Oesophageal Cancer Clinical and Molecular Stratification (OCCAMS) consortium identified new mutational profiles of oesophageal cancerwhich will form the basis of the Southampton group’s work for the next five years.


Tim hopes that other AUGIS members will be encouraged by his award which demonstrates that there can be high-level support for surgeons who have an interest in basic and translational science.

An exciting Scientific Programme lined up for Cork

The BJS Speaker at the Cork meeting in September will be Professor Richard Van Hillegersberg from the University Medical Centre Utrecht.

Professor Nigel Heaton, Head of Liver Transplantation at King’s College Hospital and Professor John Reynolds, Professor of Clinical Surgery at St James’s Hospital and Trinity College Dublin, will also be presenting.

Amongst other speakers, Mr Marc Besselink, an HPB surgeon based the Academic Medical Centre in Amsterdam will be joining Ireland-based laparoscopic and bariatric consultant surgeon Mr Colm O’Boyle.

The Scientific Programme promises to be an exciting one – join us in Cork!