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Securing the future of the clinician-scientist

By integrating discovery science with clinical practice and therapeutic intervention, clinician-scientists fulfil a unique role in cancer research. However, their numbers are in decline, which is creating the need for flexible training and research opportunities to ensure their future.

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Fig. 1: Core components of flexible clinician-scientist training programs, as exemplified by CRUK’s Clinical Academic Training Program Awards.


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Correspondence to Charles Swanton.

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Competing interests

K.N. and C.S. are current staff members of and receive salaries from CRUK, which is investing in supporting the future of clinician-scientists through a new funding award; S.B. and D.T. served as members of the committee that reviewed the new funding award. J.O. is a previous CRUK staff member currently working as a medical writer, and received payment from CRUK during the preparation of this Comment. F.A. receives research funding from AstraZeneca, Novartis, Pfizer, Daiichi, Lilly and Roche and also receives compensation from AstraZeneca, Novartis, Pfizer, Daiichi, Lilly, Roche, directly to Gustave Roussy Cancer Centre, for serving as a speaker and advisory board member, and is a founder of Pegacsy. S.F.B. owns equity in, receives compensation from and serves as a consultant for and on the Scientific Advisory Board and Board of Directors of Volastra Therapeutics, has also consulted for Sanofi and has received sponsored travel from the Prostate Cancer Foundation. S.L. has acted as consultant (uncompensated) to Seattle Genetics, Pfizer, Novartis, BMS, Merck, AstraZeneca and Roche-Genentech, and as consultant (paid to S.L.’s institution) to Aduro Biotech. H.C.R. serves as the speaker of the German Cancer Aid–funded physician-scientist program in Cologne, Germany, as well as the vice speaker of the network of the five German Cancer Aid–funded physician-scientist programs in Germany (Hamburg, Dresden, Würzburg, Frankfurt and Cologne-Bonn), and is also the speaker of an Else Kröner-Fresenius Foundation–funded clinician scientist program in Cologne, Germany, and received consulting fees from Abbvie, AstraZeneca, Vertex and Merck and research funding from Gilead. D.T. serves on the SAB of Cygnal Therapeutics, Leap Therapeutics and Surface Oncology, is a stockholder of Leap Therapeutics and Surface Oncology, and receives research support from ONO and Fibrogen and an honorarium from Merck. C.S. receives grant support from Pfizer, AstraZeneca, BMS, Roche-Ventana and Boehringer-Ingelheim, has consulted for Pfizer, Novartis, GlaxoSmithKline, MSD, BMS, Celgene, AstraZeneca, Illumina, Genentech, Roche-Ventana, GRAIL, Medicxi and the Sarah Cannon Research Institute, is an Advisor for Dynamo Therapeutics, is a shareholder of Apogen Biotechnologies, Epic Bioscience and GRAIL, and has stock options in and is co-founder of Achilles Therapeutics.

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Noble, K., Owens, J., André, F. et al. Securing the future of the clinician-scientist. Nat Cancer 1, 139–141 (2020).

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