In many ways we are privileged to be able to offer choice about your treatments based on defined the benefits and risks we learnt from clinical studies, thanks to the many patients like yourself who have taken part in clinical trials. Clinical research is not usually about experimentation but defining the best treatment when we are genuinely uncertain. For example, in some circumstances we do not always know if surgery is the best treatment option, or if there are better combinations of treatments with or without surgery. In this setting, we can either carry on blindly doing what we think is best, or actually conduct a study to help find out what is best.
When you see me, you may be offered the opportunity to take part in a clinical trial. Not all patients will be offered because clinical studies are often very selective as to who can be offered an opportunity to participate (this helps keep the study uniform). The current clinical trials that we are recruiting to are:
MARS 2 – a study comparing surgery versus no surgery for patients with mesothelioma
VIOLET – a study comparing open versus keyhole surgery for patients with lung cancer
Currently the landscape of lung cancer treatment is changing and we are now looking to see if we can determine the best treatments for patients with specific gene mutations in their cancer. The CRUK stratified medicines programmes allow us to see if you have any of these gene mutations and participation simply involves giving some blood and allowing the tissue that we remove as part of your operation to be sent for testing. The current cohort studies we are recruiting to are:
Cancer Research UK Stratified Medicines Programme – a study that looks to see if you have gene mutations in your cancer that may be used to determine if you would respond to a new drug treatment
TracerX - a study that explores how cancers change with time. One of the most well funded study in lung cancer in the UK underscores it's importance in detecting how cancer DNA changes to help doctors find better treatments (including the prospect of personalised immunotherapies) that would target cancers at it's roots.
Basic and trasnlational science studies
My team and I are working hard to develop a blood test for cancer and also the Royal Brompton Hospital has among the most highly reputable researchers in the field of respiratory medicine. When you come for an operation, you will be given an opportunity to donate the excess tissue that we remove as part of your procedure to be used for research. This is by far the simplest and easiest way to take part in research that may lead to new diagnostic tests, determine who will benefit from which treatment, a better understanding of respiratory diseases. The possibilities are endless and your tissue will make a difference.
Royal Brompton Hospital Advanced Disease Biobank – where your tissue will be used for basic science research in cancer and other respiratory diseases
If you are interested in taking part in any of the studies or if you would like more information you can contact me and I will put you in touch with Mr Paulo De Sousa our research nurse.