An eminent philanthropist and three time cancer survivor Dr James Hull has joined forces with six universities, including the University of Nottingham, to investigate why cancer returns in some people and not others.
Focusing on patients who have had successful treatment of advanced cancer and in whom the cancer has not reoccurred for at least five years, researchers from the University of Nottingham, University of Surrey, University of Oxford, Cardiff University, Swansea University, University of Manchester, and Royal Surrey County Hospital, as part of the Continuum Long-term Survivor study, will undertake non-invasive investigations of each individuals’ immune systems and tumour cells to identify any unique features which could explain why they have remained cancer free.
Figures from Cancer Research UK indicate that there are around 363,000 new cancer cases in the UK every year. It is likely that a high percentage of those diagnosed will have a reoccurrence of the disease within two years of finishing treatment however why cancer returns in some patients and not others remains a mystery to physicians.
Researchers believe that these patients may have proteins on the surface of their tumours which their immune system mistakes as an infection and subsequently destroys the tumour as if fighting an infection. Findings from this study could help revolutionise immunotherapy treatment by targeting different proteins on cancer cells, potentially eliminating cancer recurrence in patients.
We are particularly excited to be part of the Continuum family as it allows us understand why some patients respond very well to treatment and become long term cancer survivors. As part of this project we have already identified novel targets and unique immune receptors which we believe may be important in the long term survival of several cancer patients. We can now use these receptors to target these proteins in other less fortunate cancer patients. We also integrate closely with other Continuum members from other Universities who are focusing on other aspects of cancer biology in long term cancer survivors.
James Hull, philanthropist and CEO and Founder of Continuum Life Sciences, a cancer research company which is striving to find a cure for cancer and who has made this study possible with numerous financial awards to the universities mentioned, said: “I am very grateful to be a cancer survivor and wholeheartedly thank all those involved in my treatment journey. I want to find out everything we can about this devastating illness to spare future generations the difficulties I have gone through in my fight against cancer. Bringing together the best cancer experts in the country and equipping them with the resources they need is one way I can do this and I am very excited to see what they uncover.”
Recruitment for this innovative study remains open. If you have had an aggressive, locally advanced and/or metastatic cancer which resolved completely with treatment and have remained free of the disease without maintenance treatment for 5 years or longer we would like to talk to you.
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