Norfolk researchers look to improve lung cancer treatments

Doctors at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital are taking part in one of the world’s largest lung cancer clinical trials investigating how a blood thinning drug might help prevent blood clots in lung cancer patients.

The Cancer Research UK funded trial – named FRAGMATIC – is investigating whether a drug called Dalteparin can treat this problem and whether the drug may also improve the survival of lung cancer patients.

People with lung cancer are at an increased risk of blood clots in their veins because of chemotherapy, surgery, inactivity or the lung cancer itself. Clots can be dangerous and even fatal if they dislodge and travel to the lungs. They can also cause pain in the chest and breathlessness.

Dalteparin – also known as Fragmin – may also have an anticancer effect and lead to an improvement in quality of life and survival rates after the lung cancer diagnosis because it is thought that the blood thinning drug may affect how cancer cells spread through the blood stream, but this is not known for sure. This trial is designed to help answer these questions and to identify any possible side effects of using the drug in this situation.

Dr Tom Roques, who is working on the trial at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, said: “We are pleased to be helping with this major UK-wide trial by recruiting people across Norfolk. We are all working hard to find better and more effective ways to treat this difficult illness.”

The trial, which was created by Dr Fergus Macbeth and Dr Simon Noble at Velindre Hospital in Cardiff, is hoping to recruit 2,200 patients and is due to involve between 50 and 100 centres around the UK.

Dr Macbeth, the lead researcher on the trial, said: “Blood clots are quite common in people who have lung cancer and may be dangerous. With this research, we hope to learn how to reduce the risk of this problem and improve the treatment for patients.”

Kate Law, Cancer Research UK’s clinical trials director, said: “Lung cancer remains the second most common cancer in the UK. It is vital we continue to research new treatments and also improve existing treatments for the disease. Clinical trials like FRAGMATIC are important in helping to do this and developing better treatments for patients.”

For more information on the trial, please visit the or call the Cancer Research UK cancer information nurses on 0808 800 4040.

Notes to editor:

Every year around 38,300 cases of lung cancer are diagnosed in the UK. Lung cancer causes around 33,500 deaths each year in the UK.

FRAGMATIC will recruit over 2,000 people in the UK. Everybody taking part in the trial will be put into one of two treatment groups by a computer.

Group 1 patients will have standard treatment for lung cancer.

Group 2 patients will have standard treatment for lung cancer and a dalteparin (Fragmin) injection once a day for 24 weeks. The injections will start as soon as possible after joining the trial and before starting any other cancer treatment. The trial team will show everyone how to give themself the injections.

About Cancer Research UK

• Together with its partners and supporters, Cancer Research UK's vision is to beat cancer.
• Cancer Research UK carries out world-class research to improve understanding of the disease and find out how to prevent, diagnose and treat different kinds of cancer.
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Monday 21st of January 2008 04:00:25 PM