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Academia and industry join forces to improve quality of life for cancer patients

Posted on 20 September 2011

A new research partnership between York Health Economics Consortium (YHEC), the University of York, and AstraZeneca will seek to improve oncology care by encouraging more extensive patient feedback on their symptoms and well-being during clinical trials.

This feedback is generated through the use of Patient Reported Outcome (PRO) questionnaires used by patients to report their own symptoms. This includes patients’ emotional wellbeing and how they are coping with daily life, including work, activities and hobbies during their participation in clinical trials.

This Knowledge Transfer Partnership enables both organisations to combine our expertise to develop and improve the patient experience

Professor John Local, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research

PRO questionnaires are an important aspect of treatment because it is the patient’s personal report of their health-related quality of life which, crucially, is not mediated by doctors, nurses or family members. Such information is also increasingly required in clinical trials by regulatory authorities.

The three-year project will investigate PRO questionnaires in oncology clinical trials and the effectiveness of current instruments. It will also explore the need to adapt existing and/or develop new questionnaires, as well as further developing AstraZeneca’s global oncology PRO strategy.

A University of York staff member will be based both at AstraZeneca’s Alderley Park R&D facility and at the York Health Economics Consortium (YHEC). The position is funded through a UK government Knowledge Transfer Partnership – an initiative to foster closer ties between universities and the business community by providing expert staff to work within companies.

Professor John Local, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research at the University of York, said: “We are proud that the world-class nature of the York Health Economics Consortium has been recognised by the signing of this partnership with AstraZeneca. This Knowledge Transfer Partnership enables both organisations to combine our expertise to develop and improve the patient experience.”

Ali English, Vice President for Clinical Science at AstraZeneca, said: “Understanding how patients cope with innovative treatments during clinical trials is a critical part of the research process. This information is critical to developing medicines that are not only effective in treating the disease, but also consider a patient’s quality of life and how everyday activities are affected. AstraZeneca is very pleased to be supporting this important piece of work.”

Notes to editors:

  • YHEC is a company wholly owned by the University of York. It was established in 1986 to extend the range of the University's services to the health care sector. Its purpose is to provide consultancy and research in health economics to the NHS and the pharmaceutical and health care industries, which combines rigorous research standards with efficient project delivery. More information on YHEC, University of York at
  • AstraZeneca is a global, innovation-driven biopharmaceutical business with a primary focus on the discovery, development and commercialisation of prescription medicines for gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, neuroscience, respiratory and inflammation, oncology and infectious disease. AstraZeneca operates in over 100 countries and its innovative medicines are used by millions of patients worldwide. For more information please visit:
  • More information on Knowledge Transfer Partnerships at

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Caron Lett
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