Highest recruiters in the country for innovative cancer trial

Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has recruited the highest number of patients in the UK into an innovative kidney cancer trial; and is also the sixth highest site globally for recruitment into this trial currently.

This trial, entitled CheckMate 914, looks into the use of a combination of treatments to stimulate the body’s immune system in kidney cancer patients in order to fight cancerous cells and prevent the return of a tumour following surgery. The trial hopes to answer the important question of whether immunotherapy treatment after surgery for high risk kidney cancer patients (those whose risk of cancer returning is about 50%) reduces the risk of this cancer coming back and increases the chances of curing the cancer altogether. Immunotherapy has already shown to have benefits in the risk of other cancers such as melanoma after surgery and there have always been similarities in the way in which these cancers are managed.

Omi Parikh, Consultant Oncologist at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals said: “We are so pleased to have been able to recruit nine patients into this trial so far; making us one of the top performing sites in the world. I do think this is a great achievement for the team at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals.”

“This is obviously a big team effort that includes the whole team including the surgeons who are referring the patients in a timely fashion (Mr Zelhof) the research nurse (Sheila Calvert) and all of the team in the research department, as well the chemotherapy team who administer the treatment and pharmacy. We are also so grateful for the patients who give up a significant amount of time and energy to take part in these clinical trials.”

As well as being the top recruiter in the UK for the study, Lancashire Teaching Hospitals were also able to recruit the first patient in the UK into this trial.

Omi continued: “It was a great full team achievement that led to us to being able to recruit the first UK patient into this renal study last year. There has been a huge gap internationally in treatment options for this group of patients for several years. The patient that we were able to recruit into this trial first has been very keen to be offered this opportunity and to be involved in advancing medical knowledge.”

Nita Desai, Research Access Project Manager at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals said: “The most important thing to us is the patients who enable us to carry out these studies. Without them, there would be no trials, and it is their commitment to research into new treatments that makes our work happen. We have not had a study like this in our hospitals for a considerable length of time now, so it is great news that we are able to look into this group of patients and make advancements for current and future patients. We were not originally selected as a site for this study; so it is fantastic that the team have been able to recruit so well into this trial in a shorter time frame.”

Bachar Zelhof, Consultant Urological Surgeon at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals said “The first patient who entered into this trial with us has been nothing but thankful for the opportunity to be involved in this trial, and gave me fantastic feedback on his experience. A trial like this is a fantastic opportunity to answer an important question and hopefully, give hope to these patients.”

Karen Partington, Chief Executive of Lancashire Teaching Hospitals said, “As the cancer centre for Lancashire and South Cumbria, as well as a leading research centre, it’s really important that we’re involved in such pioneering trials and programmes. This will enable us to bring emerging treatment and approaches to local patients now, as well as break new ground in healthcare that will benefit future generations.”

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