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18 November 2020

Cancer trials at King's receives £3.1 million in funding

Two major clinical trials supported by Peter Sasieni, Professor of Cancer Prevention at King’s, has received £3.1 million in funding by Yorkshire Cancer Research.

Patient on hospital bed

A three-year investigation will explore the possibility of an early detection programme for bladder cancer. A separate six-year study will seek to improve the treatment of men with early stage prostate cancer.

The trials will be led by James Catto, National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Research Professor and Professor in Urological Surgery at the University of Sheffield, and will be co-ordinated by the King’s College Cancer Prevention Trials Unit.

The Cancer Research UK & King’s College London Cancer Prevention Trials Unit (CPTU) is delighted to have won these two grants from Yorkshire Cancer Research together with Jim Catto, Professor of Urological Surgery at the University of Sheffield. These grants add to our portfolio of trials looking a novel techniques in cancer screening and the use of medicines to reduce the risk of cancer in high-risk patients. It is a credit to the superb operations team that we have been successful at a time when research funding has been severely affected by COVID-19.

Professor Sasieni, Professor of Cancer Prevention at King’s, from the School of Cancer & Pharmaceutical Sciences

He continued: “I am particularly excited that we have been awarded a grant to study how we might be able to support men on active surveillance for early prostate cancer. We know that the drug Finasteride is active in prostate cancer and believe that there is a good chance that it will help to reduce the chances that men on active surveillance go on to have radical treatment for their cancer.”

The charity will fund a £1.5 million programme to assess and compare the use of self-testing kits and community early detection clinics to start to test the idea of screening people at high risk of developing bladder cancer.

2000 people taking part in a lung screening trial will be invited to take part in a ‘bladder health check’. This will help determine whether bladder cancer screening can be embedded within community lung cancer screening programmes.

They will be asked to self-test their urine using a dipstick which can detect traces of blood and other abnormalities. Those with a positive result will receive further urine testing for cancerous cells and an ultrasound scan at a community early detection clinic.

Yorkshire Cancer Research will also fund a £1.6m trial to test the use of a drug called ‘finasteride’ in men with early stage prostate cancer.

Some men with prostate cancers that may grow slowly - and therefore may not require surgery or radiotherapy - choose to be closely monitored rather than receiving immediate treatment. This is known as ‘active surveillance’.

The study will test whether finasteride, an existing drug that slows prostate growth and reduces the protein prostate specific antigen levels, can be used to improve active surveillance by reducing the number of men who undergo surgery or radiotherapy needlessly.

In this story

Peter  Sasieni

Academic Director of King's Clinical Trials Unit