About us

What is the digital ECMT?

The digital Experimental Cancer Medicine Team is a clinical digital research group. We bring researchers, clinicians, technology and patients together to innovate in early clinical trials. Our aim is for patients, carers and families to work in partnership with researchers on clinical trials and new technologies.

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Working directly with patients


The digital ECMT forms part of Professor Caroline Dive’s Cancer Biomarker Centre, based within the Cancer Research UK (CRUK) Manchester Institute, which is part of The University of Manchester. We are also aligned to the Experimental Cancer Medicine Team in The Christie NHS Foundation Trust. This makes the digital ECMT ideally placed to work directly with patients in the development of new ways of monitoring clinical trials.

Our combined expertise applies a variety of innovative technological approaches to enable better, earlier clinical trial decisions that directly benefit the patient.

To transform decision making we are researching methods for near real-time collection of patient data in the clinic as well as remotely, and visualisation of these data to enable adaptive decisions to be made to ongoing Phase 1 trials – seeking the truth and following the science.

What makes us unique

We operate at the intersection between patients, science, technology and the clinic.

We are ideally placed to work with clinicians, scientists and patients in one of Europe’s leading experimental cancer medicine sites to transform the way that decisions in cancer treatment are made. Part of a unique network of world-class scientific and clinical experts, working hand in hand with patients, we learn from their experiences in early clinical trials.

Our work brings together experts from all aspects of clinical development. Individually, we can each tackle part of a clinical problem, but together we can test and prototype solutions that change the conduct, exploration and interpretation of early clinical trials.  By working together and through direct patient engagement, technology assessments, advanced data analytics and visualisations we develop the clinical trials of the future.


Collaboration in practice

We continue to recognise the importance of partnering with research, academic, clinical, and industry partners, as well as patients, to build on the collective expertise to deliver digital innovations to early clinical trials and beyond to transform decision-making and the patient’s role. And whilst 2020 saw the end of the 5-year “iDECIDE” research programme, a successful collaboration between four strategic partners in cancer research; the CRUK MI Centre for Cancer Biomarker Sciences, The University of Manchester, The Christie and AstraZeneca; the digital ECMT has built on this to extend its collaborations and multi-centre academic research grant involvement.

The University of Manchester

The University of Manchester Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health (School of Cancer Sciences)

Cancer Research UK

Cancer Biomarker Centre, part of the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute

The Christie NHS Foundation Trust Experimental Cancer Medicine Team, Manchester

Precision Science – transforming clinical trials

Working with patients, we are developing proven applications that deliver precision safety and monitoring techniques in the clinical trial setting. Our precision medicine capabilities are rapidly expanding, enabling the classification of cancer tumours according to their genetic make-up, using tumour and blood biomarkers, and selection of a therapy to target specific individual tumour molecular changes.

We want to significantly improve the application of clinical trial informatics to better identify the right cancer treatment for individual patients.

This will make personalised medicine a reality – delivering the right treatment to the right patient at the right time.

digital ECMT is harnessing digital technology and solutions that will initially be used within the Experimental Cancer Medicine Team, (ECMT) for early cancer trials at The Christie NHS Foundation Trust.

Our work will drive change for patient benefit. We also want our applications to enable more patients to take part in clinical trials, through precision monitoring of safety and efficacy. The ability to provide improved targeted monitoring will enable trial organisers to expand the inclusion criteria, giving a broader range of patients the opportunity to participate.

Our patients are co-researchers in clinical research

We want patients to feel they are contributing to the clinical trial. Not just a number in a research study, patients on our clinical trials are individual contributors and active collaborators. Each patient has an interactive role in the monitoring and progress of the clinical trial. The information they provide as co-scientists is vitally important, enabling better, earlier clinical trial decisions that directly benefit the patient.

Our work is transforming clinical trial culture – from patient as subject to patient as partner.

We will link each oncology patient on our trials to their molecular profile and educate them in terms of its significance to them in the trial.

Patients on our clinical trials are valuable members of our team, striving to evolve the science of cancer medicine. Our patients are valued. They are contributing to the development of new solutions within oncology treatment. By working together in this way, the boundaries of learning can be pushed forward for the benefit of patients.

In practice

In a clinical trial, we will have a project office and seminar room above the clinical trial unit. We will work directly with patients to design a specific application with the patient and clinical team for that trial.

We are uniquely placed to liaise with, and work with patients in one of Europe’s leading experimental cancer medicines sites. From seeking the opinions of patients, their families, and carers in the outpatients’ areas at The Christie NHS Foundation Trust, to engaging with individual patients on a clinical trial, we are listening to the voice of the patient. The patient is involved at every stage of our work, helping to inform the clinicians and scientists to shape and run clinical trials, and to advance the development of new cancer medicines.

Tools we use

Our core framework uses the tools developed by the iDecide collaboration. A key component is access to real-time data to enable real-time decisions to adapt the clinical trial:

In addition, we are working with new technology partners to investigate and develop new applications that will help to transform clinical trials through digital precision science.