Cancer Trials Success

NHS Forth Valley is now one of the top recruiting sites for cancer trials both within Scotland and the UK. More than 700 patients have now taken part in a portfolio of trials covering haematology, breast, urology, lung and colorectal cancer. The portfolio currently consists of 56 trials, 16 of these are open to recruitment, whilst 34 are closed to national recruitment with patients continuing with trial follow up, and a further six trials are currently in the process of gaining the required regulatory approvals.

One of the biggest successes has been a genetics study in colorectal cancer. Since January last year more than 240 patients have consented to taking part in the trial, making NHS Forth Valley the top recruiting centre in the West of Scotland. Other successes since the establishment of the Scottish Cancer Research Network (SCRN) in 2004 with Forth Valley as a West of Scotland site, includes a lung cancer trial in which NHS Forth Valley was within the top 10 recruiting sites within the UK. This success has also been evident within the breast portfolio, where NHS Forth Valley was noted to be the third highest recruiter in Scotland for one of the adjuvant   breast cancer trials.

This successful recruitment has only been possible through the development of close working relationships across the various multidisciplinary teams.NHS Forth Valley Cancer Trials Practitioner Lynn Prentice said: “Some of our patients take an altruistic view. They are aware that they themselves may not benefit from the trials; however they acknowledge that the research could help someone in the future. Others patients prefer to opt for the current standard of care”

Within NHS Forth Valley the majority of cancer trials which are conducted are Phase III trials. These trials compare new treatments with the best currently available treatment (the standard treatment). These trials may compare;

  • A completely new treatment with the standard treatment
  • Different doses or ways of giving a standard treatment
  • New approaches to delivering radiotherapy treatment

Most Phase III trials involve thousands of patients in many different hospitals and even different countries. Most Phase III trials are randomised. This means that patients are allocated their treatment by a random process.

Lynn Prentice believes the success in recruiting is due to the dedicated trials team within NHS Forth Valley & the great respect they have for their patients. “We are most grateful to those patients who take part in our studies, as it is by these patients participating in trials that advances have been made. However, we acknowledge that it is the patients choice whether they participate in clinical trials or not.”

NHS Forth Valley remains committed to having a portfolio of cancer clinical trials to offer patients within their local area.