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Issue 473, 19 November 2001

Cancer treatment trial

New research into effective treatment for the bone cancer myeloma is to receive 1.3m from the Medical Research Council. Over the next five years, 1,600 patients suffering from multiple myeloma will participate in a national clinical trial, looking at different drugs used to treat the condition.

The trial will also link with Leukaemia Research Fund-supported research at the University looking at the genetic abnormalities of the disease, with a view to defining high and low risk groups of patients.

Myeloma is a form of cancer which affects antibody-producing plasma cells in the bone marrow, and as most patients have evidence of disease at a number of sites in the body, the condition is known as multiple myeloma. About 200 new cases are diagnosed each year in the UK.

The new trial will address several questions relating to treatment, and is also linked with important scientific studies to improve understanding of the disease. The trial will compare the effectiveness of various drug sequences to assess their impact on response rates, duration of remission, survival and quality of life.

For some patients, the effectiveness of a treatment called a ‘mini-allogeneic transplant’ will be assessed. This treatment involves relatively low levels of chemotherapy followed by a transplant of stem cells from a tissue-compatible sibling donor.

The funding has been awarded to principal investigators Dr Tony Child and Professor Gareth Morgan from haematology and oncology and to Julia Brown and Sue Bell of the NYCTRU, who will co-ordinate the trial.


 
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