New research aims to ‘unlock lung cancer’s secrets’

Posted by Samantha Powell on July 29th, 2013 |

Date: 7/29/2013

Outlet Full Name: CSL Recruitment

Cancer Research UK has announced details of a new study designed to ‘unlock the secrets’ of lung cancer.

Reportedly a world first, the project will track the real-time impact of treatment on the development, adaptation and resistance of lung tumors.

The initiative will span nine years and cover all of the UK, making it one of the largest ever clinical research studies of lung cancer patients.

Scientists will work with some 850 people, taking samples from different parts of tumors before and after surgery, and again if the disease recurs.

Participants will also have blood tests to examine any DNA from the cancer circulating in the bloodstream, enabling researchers to monitor how the treatment affects the genetic profile of the condition.

Cancer Research UK said the combination of these methods will provide an “unprecedented insight” into lung cancer and improve the understanding of different forms of the disease on a genetic level.

The study will bring together oncologists, pathologists, laboratory researchers and technicians based at centers including University College London, Birmingham University Hospital and the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.

Lead researcher Charlie Swanton said the project represents the first step in improving cancer diagnosis and treatment, namely enhancing understanding of the disease and how it changes over time.

He added: “Research has led us to this point when, after decades of earlier work, we can look to the future with real optimism.

“We plan to harness new sequencing technologies to trace the genetic evolution of cancer over the course of the disease. Our research will help explain why lung cancer is difficult to treat, and steer a path towards saving more lives.”

A recent study conducted by scientists at McMaster University in Canada and published in the British Journal of Cancer found that the diabetes drug metformin could combat lung cancer by slowing the growth of cells and making them more vulnerable to radiotherapy.

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