Imaging scans for some local patients with kidney cancer are being funded by Rosemere Cancer Foundation to help consultants determine which patients will benefit from a new immunotherapy drug.
The charity has awarded £33,254.25 to consultant oncologist Dr Natalie Charnley, who is based at Rosemere Cancer Centre, Lancashire and South Cumbria’s specialist regional cancer treatment and radiotherapy centre at the Royal Preston Hospital.
Dr Charnley is leading on a study that is investigating patient response to nivolumab, an immunotherapy medicine. It works by blocking a protein that slows down the immune system and stops it from attacking cancer cells.
In activating the immune system, nivolumab can help it to find and kill cancer cells and is already being used to treat some patients with a wide range of cancers, including some with kidney (renal) cancer. Of these patients, doctors now want to know who is most likely to benefit from the treatment as while some seem to respond well and very well, others do less so and for them, different treatments may be a better option.
To help find out, Dr Charnley and her team are using PET scans – positron emission tomography scans, an imaging test that helps reveal how the tissues and organs are functioning – to look for early signs or markers that nivolumab is producing a response and so likely to work.
Patients in her trial have scans, paid for by Rosemere Cancer Foundation, prior to taking the medicine, two weeks after taking it and at three months. Dr Charnley said: “Using the scans, we are hoping the study will help us determine which patients are more likely to respond the best to nivolumab. We are very grateful for Rosemere Cancer Foundation’s support of our research, which we are now planning to extend by expanding it to more patients with renal cancer.”
Dan Hill, Rosemere Cancer Foundation’s chief officer, said: “It is very rewarding to see Dr Charnley and her team involve local patients in ground breaking global research to find new treatment options for those with kidney cancer.
“We are delighted to support her study and extremely grateful to all our fantastic supporters, who have made it possible by finding ways to continue to donate to us even in these very difficult times.”
Rosemere Cancer Foundation works to bring world class cancer treatments and services to cancer patients from throughout Lancashire and South Cumbria being treated not only at Rosemere Cancer Centre but also at another eight local hospital cancer units across the two counties.
The charity funds cutting edge equipment, research, training and other cancer services and therapies that the NHS is unable to afford. For further information on its work, including how to make a donation, visit www.rosemere.org.uk