Matt Kaiser
Posted by
Matt Kaiser

International trials: the global impact of blood cancer research

Matt Kaiser
Posted by
Matt Kaiser
03 Mar 2016

The background 

Bloodwise is a contributor to global clinical trials and improvements in patient management. The results from trials we fund are used in evidence to change clinical practice across the world. And we also play our part in truly international trials by supporting the recruitment of UK patients to trials that are open across many countries. This ensures that we can gather enough insight about patients with rare diseases or who are part of a rare subset to improve clinical management.

What we’re doing 

Older patients with acute myeloid leukaemia or aggressive myelodysplastic syndrome cannot usually withstand the standard intensive chemotherapy. We are funding the UK component of a trial (LI-1) being run in Australia, New Zealand, Denmark and France to look at new drugs to combine with reduced intensity chemotherapy.

We’re funding the UK part of a large international clinical trial, involving Australia, Israel, New Zealand and 18 other European countries, for children, adolescents and young adults with newly diagnosed Hodgkin lymphoma. The trial aims to reduce the use of radiotherapy in patients who respond well to initial chemotherapy, and to reduce the intensity of radiotherapy in those patients who still need it. The goal is to carry on saving lives, but to improve the quality of life for as many patients as possible, both during their treatment and long after.

Chemotherapy for Burkitt lymphoma is now very successful but involves prolonged time as an inpatient and severe side effects. A collaborative trials group from the UK, Netherlands and Belgium, and potentially including Switzerland, Spain, Austria, Ireland and Australia, are running a trial to test whether delivering the same chemotherapy with a different schedule improves its effectiveness and reduces toxicity. What’s more, this can be carried out as an outpatient, reducing the number of hospital stays. We’re supporting the recruitment of UK patients to this trial.

We’re also supporting a trial in our Trials Acceleration Programme to test a new combination of chemotherapy and immunotherapy drugs for primary central nervous system lymphoma, a rare type of aggressive non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The UK researchers are looking at the potential of opening the trial in the Netherlands.

Because the number of children with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, the most common childhood cancer, who relapse or become drug-resistant are becoming rarer, we need to run clinical trials for these patients in several countries to make sure we recruit sufficient numbers quickly enough. One trial run across Europe and Australia is already underway, and we’re funding an important complementary laboratory project to discover new predictors of treatment response and new biological targets to hit with drugs.