LONDON—A multi-organization cancer initiative was launchedtoday by several leading research institutions and hospitals of London in hopesof developing a new clinical trial program for lung cancer patients. The LondonLung Cancer Alliance is being supported by Boris Johnson, mayor of London, andProf. Dame Sally C. Davies, chief medical officer of London.
The initiative is meant to benefit patients both withinLondon and worldwide through collaboration and coordination, in hopes of aidingall patients in finding trials that fit them. The initiative members areplanning a research program that will open trials of novel personalizedtherapies available to up to 3,000 newly diagnosed lung cancer patients a year.The Alliance will also work with pharmaceutical companies to make availableexisting targeted cancer therapies and test them in lung cancer for the firsttime. The large number of patients to be included and a wide range oftreatments will increase the likelihood of matching patients with potentiallyeffective drugs.
"For far too long the prospects for patients with lungcancer have been bleak. But now we have an opportunity to change that as newgenetic techniques for studying tumors open up the prospect of trialling noveltargeted therapies for lung cancer," Prof. Alan Ashworth, chair of the LondonLung Cancer Alliance and chief executive of The Institute of Cancer Research,said in a press release. "The London Lung Cancer Alliance has brought togetherleading organizations across London with the aim of applying state-of-the-arttechnology to radically shake up the way we treat lung cancer. We believe thatthis new alliance will genuinely improve the prospects for lung cancerpatients."
The participating organizations include Imperial CollegeLondon, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, King's College London (as partof King's Health Partners Academic Health Sciences Centre), Royal Brompton& Harefield NHS Foundation Trust, The Institute of Cancer Research, London,The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, St George's Healthcare NHS Trust andBarts Cancer Institute at Queen Mary, University of London. All of the membershave pledged to provide funding for the initiative's infrastructure.
In addition to the work with clinical trials, the Alliancealso intends to direct its attention toward screening, early detection andprevention of lung cancer across high-risk groups.
Lung cancer currently stands as the second most common typeof cancer in the United Kingdom, second to breast cancer. A hefty 42,000 newcases were diagnosed in 2010 alone, and the country has a very low survivalrate, with fewer than 10 percent of patients still alive five years afterdiagnosis.
"The launch of this Alliance heralds a brighter future forlung cancer patients across London and more widely, and is just the kind ofcollaborative initiative that we're keen to see National Institute for HealthResearch infrastructure support," commented Davies. "It is only by academia,the NHS and industry working together that we can make real progress againstdiseases such as lung cancer, where low expectations and poor survival rateshave become entrenched."
Under the initiative, researchers will undertake geneticprofiling of tumors and test a panel of targeted therapies in those with certainmolecular defects. All patients within a six million catchment area inLondon—as well as Liverpool, Newcastle, Southampton, Cardiff and Edinburgh—willeventually be offered gene testing at the time of their cancer diagnosis, andthen offered a panel of targeted therapies matched to the molecular defects oftheir particular cancer.
"This alliance gives us an outstanding opportunity for ourleading scientists to work together across the capital to change the face oflung cancer in the UK, and to translate these discoveries into life-saving carefor our patients," said Prof. Michael Seckl, head of Molecular Oncology atImperial College London and an oncology consultant at Imperial CollegeHealthcare NHS Trust.
SOURCE: Institute of Cancer Research press release