A new multidisciplinary study involving six universities is to investigate why some patients who have had advanced cancer remain well after treatment.
Funded by three time cancer survivor Dr James Hull, the research team will be based at Universities of Manchester, Surrey, Oxford, Cardiff, Swansea, Nottingham and the Royal Surrey County Hospital.
The Continuum Long-term Survivor study will focus on patients who have had successful treatment of advanced cancer have remained cancer free for at least 5 years.
It will involve non-invasive analysis of individuals’ immune systems and tumour cells to identify any unique features which could explain why they have remained cancer free.
It is hoped the findings from the study could improve immunotherapy treatment by targeting different proteins in cancer cells, aiming to improve the chance of non-reoccurrence.
Professor Dan Davis from the University of Manchester, who is taking part in the study, said: “This is an innovative and exciting study. Funding for unorthodox approaches like this can sometimes be difficult to achieve, so James Hull’s backing is welcome.
“It will give us an unprecedented opportunity to develop our understanding of why some people with cancer, after treatment, have better outcomes than others.
“And bringing together such a diverse group of clinicians and scientists is exciting. Breaking down barriers and engaging in interdisciplinary research gives us every chance of answering questions whose solutions are beyond the scope of a single discipline.”
James Hull, CEO and Founder of Continuum Life Sciences 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.”
The researchers are recruiting people who have had an aggressive cancer which has resolved completely with treatment and have remained free of the disease without treatment for 5 years or longer.