Cancer Research UK in $63M clinical trial boost

St. Pancras Renaissance London
The London-based charity is making one of its largest trial investments to date (Image: Marriott International)

British-based oncology R&D charity Cancer Research UK will inject £45 million ($63 million) across its clinical trial network in the U.K.

The funding boost will be used across Britain with old and new meds as well as combos, with a focus on difficult-to-treat cancers and those that affect children.

In one of the charity’s largest investments in clinical research to date, CRUK’s clinical trials units (CTUs) will see this sum divided over five years across eight CTUs in Cardiff, Birmingham, Glasgow, Southampton, Leeds and sites in London.

“Our clinical research enables us to translate discoveries from the lab in order to improve cancer diagnostics and treatments, giving more patients the best chance of beating their disease,” said Professor Charles Swanton, Cancer Research UK’s chief clinician.

“This is particularly important for patients with hard to treat cancers, including pancreatic, esophageal, lung and brain tumors, where options for treatment are limited and survival rates remain poor.”

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Professor Pamela Kearns, director of Birmingham's Cancer Research UK Clinical Trials Unit and Cancer Research UK’s children’s cancer expert, said: “Clinical trials are vital to test new treatments and improve the care of children with cancer. For example, within my team, with support from Cancer Research UK, we run the International BEACON trial, testing new combinations of therapies for children and young people with a type of childhood cancer called neuroblastoma, at a stage where they have failed to respond to standard treatments.

“One question this trial is trying to answer is if a drug called bevacizumab [Roche’s Avastin] can help treat their neuroblastoma. Bevacizumab is a type of biological therapy called a monoclonal antibody that targets the tumor’s blood supply. Doctors already treat adult cancers with this drug and we want to see if it works for children with neuroblastoma.”

Trials are also helping to find treatments that cause fewer side effects.