Cancer research trials resume after pandemic pause

The 140 projects are led by the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre.

Cancer research trials resume after pandemic pause Getty Images

More than 100 cancer related research trials are under way in Glasgow six months after they were paused due to the pandemic.

The projects, led by the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre, include the testing of a cervical cancer drug called Tiragolumab.

The drug works by stimulating the body’s immune system to fight against the cancer, an approach which has been successful for patients with other cancers, such as melanoma, bladder, kidney and lung cancer.

The 140 cancer trials form part of more than 450 health research trials in total, 51 of which are new and have been commenced as part of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde’s recovery plan.

Other trials include research into a wide range of cancers affecting adults, including some of the most complex to treat, such as cancers of the pancreas, brain, ovary and cervix.

It is estimated two out of five people will develop cancer in their lifetime but in Scotland the risk of dying from cancer has fallen by 10% in the past ten years.

Much of this improvement is down to early diagnosis and treatment, driven by the results of clinical trials.

Hundreds of other trials have also restarted for other illnesses, including a stroke study, which hit its 1000th recruit last week and a dietary approach study into Crohn’s disease.

Professor Julie Brittenden, director of research and development at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, said: “We’ve made huge efforts to restart many of our non-essential care trials that were paused back in March and are we are now able to offer patients the opportunity to take part in new studies.

“This is on top of the work we’ve undertaken over the past six months into Covid-19 and the ongoing vaccine trials. We want to thank patients and staff for their ongoing support, hard work and dedication.”

Professor Rob Jones, Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre, added: “In line with every other cancer centre in the UK, we had to temporarily close many of our research trials where there were possible risks that new treatments might have on the progress of the virus or where the patients were considered particularly vulnerable.

“We were able to continue trial participation for some patients where it was essential for their care and we were able to safely continue.

“We were amongst the first in the UK to reopen trials as soon as it was safe to do so. Many patients depend on trial treatments to manage their disease, often because there are no standard options available.

“As many of our staff had turned their skills to urgent coronavirus research, it’s particularly pleasing to see that we have recovered these activities so rapidly.”

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