Germline and somatic RET gene mutations are responsible for a range of diseases classified as rare (1 in ,3000 individuals) and include Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia type 2, familial and sporadic medullary cancer and phaeochromocytomas, Hirschsprung’s disease, congenital kidney and urinary tract abnormalities and intellectual disabilities. Although individually rare, collectively they carry a significant burden to the patients and health care systems because of their complexity and multiple co-morbidities. Their rarity also affects our ability to conduct research into the mechanism of RET associated diseases and recruitment into clinical trials. Optimal care is difficult to deliver because patients with these conditions are looked after by a wide variety of centres across the UK. Awareness and understanding of RET associated diseases can be poor and the majority of patients affected are children.
The RET Research Collaborative Network aims to facilitate the exchange of ideas and collaborative initiatives. This in turn will lead to innovative projects and research that is better coordinated with ongoing clinical care in order to encourage recruitment into research projects and clinical trials. We believe that the Network will ultimately also enable earlier diagnosis of RET mutations, ensuring better treatment options and improved clinical outcomes for patients.
The RET@CRICK meeting on Monday 10th June 2019 is envisaged as a stepping stone towards these goals. This free, day-long meeting at The Francis Crick Institute in London will bring together both scientific and clinical leaders in this field as well as younger doctors and researchers who can present their research in a poster format.
RET@CRICK is an excellent opportunity for both scientists and clinicians to test new ideas, find potential collaborators and get engaged in world class translational research.