Medical Oncology Consultant
Dr Matthew Wheater is a Medical Oncology Consultant at University Hospital Southampton and holder of a Research Leaders Programme (RLP) award.
He has a particular interest in advanced melanoma and urological cancers, including kidney cancer, prostate cancer and testicular cancer.
Making time for research
Matthew has long been interested in research. Before becoming a consultant, he did a lab-based PhD investigating signalling pathways in kidney cancer. Alongside this, he was involved in clinical trials for lung cancer and testicular cancer.
He continued to be involved in research after he became a consultant, including taking on the role of Chief Investigator (CI) for a testicular cancer study that has now been successfully completed. He is part of various collaborative groups, including the NCRI Testis Cancer Clinical Studies Group and NIHR Oncology Translational Research Collaboration. Yet he struggles to find time for research.
“I’ve never had any protected research time, so it’s always just been fitting it around a busy clinical job,” he explains. “So I haven’t been able to develop any further research projects of my own. I’m quite excited that the RLP award will give me a bit of time to develop some of my own projects.”
Before the COVID-19 pandemic started, Matthew was working on developing a trial looking at the management of immunotherapy side effects, but the grant application was turned down and he hasn’t had time to work on it since. He’s looking forward to having the time to go back to it and develop it further. Ideally, he’d like to develop his own project as a CI again.
“Immunotherapy has become a big part of oncology practice. It’s something that Southampton’s had a particular interest in for a long time,” he says.
“There’s a lot of unanswered questions, like why some patients do fantastically well with that and others seem not to respond at all, or why some people get terrible side effects and others don’t. So I’m keen to develop projects to answer some of those.”