Spotlight on Trials
Enabling and funding research is just one of the ways we’re here, at every step, to support you with and beyond cancer.
For any enquiries regarding any of the trails please email: [email protected]
Oesophageal and gastric cancers are relatively common in the UK, with approximately 16,000 new cases a year. Since patients are often not symptomatic until the disease is at quite an advanced stage, in 4 out of 5 cases by the time the cancer is diagnosed, curative treatment with surgery is not possible.
Previous research has shown that chemotherapy can provide relief of symptoms such as difficulty eating and pain, and can extend life expectancy with these conditions, but unfortunately is not curative and better treatments are needed.
The PLATFORM study is investigating whether giving a number of newly developed and more targeted treatments after patients have completed standard chemotherapy might be beneficial. The study is sponsored by the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust and is running at a number of cancer centres in the UK.
With the support of Weston Park Cancer Charity the team at the Sheffield Cancer Clinical Trials Centre are actively recruiting patients to the study, and in fact we are currently the highest recruiting site. Many of our patients have been able to access novel treatments which we hope will help them and improve the treatment options for future patients.
We are aware that fatigue is a very common complaint amongst our patients but we don’t have a good understanding of the factors behind this, or the best things we can do to help.
We have therefore been working with colleagues at King’s College, London, to investigate a number of factors which may influence levels of fatigue in patients with long term conditions including cancer. We are specifically focusing on how people cope with fatigue over time and its’ effect on people’s lives, including quality of sleep, anxiety and depression. The information gained from this questionnaire based study will inform the development of an intervention which will target problem areas and help people manage fatigue.
The Cancer Clinical Trials Centre team at Weston Park Cancer Centre have recruited 50 patients to this study. We hope that the results will lead to better interventions to address this important problem.
Could taking aspirin help reduce the chances of developing cancer?
Weston Park’s participation in the international Add Aspirin trial hopes to determine whether or not aspirin, a common painkiller drug, could help reduce the chances of developing cancer. There is evidence that taking regular aspirin may reduce cancer diagnoses and their outcome but due to side effects which can be associated with taking aspirin on a regular basis, it is not yet clear whether the potential benefits outweigh the risks.
The trial which is being led by MRC Clinical Trials Unit at University College London is still recruiting patients with breast, prostate, bowel and oeosophagogastric cancers. So far 90 patients in Sheffield have participated, making a really valuable contribution to answering this important question.
“Pancreatic cancer survival rates haven’t improved in 50 years…we’re changing that”
This year, over £340,000 of our funds have been invested into Weston Park’s Cancer Clinical Trials Centre, which delivers the vital research and clinical trials that often change and save lives. This month, we’re catching up with Jon Wadsley who is leading trials on pancreatic cancer, currently the third leading cause of cancer death in the UK.
“We’re seeing pancreatic cancer become more prevalent, and it’s expected to become the 2ndleading cause of cancer death in the next decade.
From laboratory research we do now have a better understanding of the molecular changes underlying pancreatic cancer, and the fact that a number of subtypes of pancreatic cancer can be identified which might benefit from different, more targeted treatment. This may mean that we could potentially impact survival rates.
We’re inviting newly diagnosed patients to consent to a trial that involves taking some cancer tissue for molecular profiling. The data we gather is shared across a national database contributing to the same trial. That data, from across the UK, can help us to identify potentially more individualised treatment types, ones that patients of these specific cancers might respond better to. In time, I expect to see it change the way we treat and the patients live with and survive pancreatic cancer.”
Sheffield is one of a number of UK centres recruiting to this study, which fits perfectly with our goal at Weston Park Cancer Centre of increasingly personalising the treatment that we offer to our patients to ensure the best possible outcomes.