Dr Lennard Lee, Academic Clinical Lecturer at the Department of Oncology, University of Oxford, has been awarded the 2020 Association of Cancer Physicians (ACP) McElwain Prize for his contribution to the development of Medical Oncology in the UK.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr Lee’s contributions were best reflected in his creation and implementation of a national prospective observational cohort study of cancer patients during the COVID-19 pandemic, the UK Coronavirus Cancer Monitoring Project (UK CCMP). This was one of the largest global registries and the first to identify that cancer treatments can be safely delivered during a COVID-19 pandemic.
The initial phase of the project has been successfully achieved with the roll out and implementation of the UK CCMP emergency observational response network, as well as studies to determine those in our population who are most at risk – such as blood cancer patients.
Thanks to this project, the UK oncology community now has the tools and the mechanism to learn from each case of COVID-19 in cancer patients and the evidence required to bring about clinical management/service/treatment decision changes to improve the outcomes of cancer patients. The data from this project has helped form the guidelines which have been published from NHS England about the resumption of cancer services and led to the return of near-normal chemotherapy prescribing levels.
Building on the success of this work, Lennard is now leading on further studies to understand and better safeguard cancer patients during the pandemic. He has co-launched projects on COVID-19 vaccine efficacy, understanding how this is impacted by cancer treatments, and studies to identify other effective COVID-19 risk reduction interventions.
Lennard Lee said “I am honoured to receive this award on behalf of all the clinicians and researchers who took part in the UKCCMP. The work by the UK oncology community had global impact, demonstrating that cancer patients can be treated safely during the pandemic. No one should be denied appropriate cancer treatments and it is important that we continue to deliver research excellence in order to protect the vulnerable during this pandemic”.