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National Institute for Health Research Biomedical Research Centre
Our Research: Advanced Radiotherapy

New radiotherapy-immunotherapy combinations

Did you know that immunotherapy can help improve the chances of successful radiotherapy by boosting the body’s natural defence to fight cancer?

Radiotherapy may be made more effective at killing cancer cells by combining it with drugs that stimulate or reinvigorate the immune system.

Our research showed that radiotherapy can stimulate the immune system. However, in many cancer patients tumours suppress the immune response. Combining radiotherapy with immunotherapy can overcome this immune suppression to make the treatment effective.

Through our research we are:

  • Building on and expanding an internationally leading programme of radiotherapy and immunotherapy combinations by identifying more cancers (e.g. lung cancer, melanoma, bladder cancer) that can benefit from radiotherapy-immunotherapy combinations and developing biomarkers to predict individual benefit
  • Accelerating the translation of our pre-clinical research through early phase clinical trials and into routine clinical care, by working with pharmaceutical companies and NIHR research infrastructure across the country (Biomedical Research Centres, Clinical Research Facilities and Clinical Research Network)

Progress to date

PORT study – Cutaneous T cell lymphoma (CTCL)
We have secured pharmaceutical industry funding (£800,000) and received full regulatory approval. The study is CRN adopted, ClinicalTrials.gov number – NCT03385226.

PD –RAD study – Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)
We have secured pharmaceutical industry funding (£328,000) and received full regulatory approval. The study is CRN adopted, ClinicalTrials.gov number – NCT03258788.

PARIS study – Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)
Secured funding from industry (£350,000) and CRUK (£150,000)

DETER study – metastatic bladder cancer
Funding secured from pharmaceutical industry, protocol design approved by funder and study documents are now being prepared for submission to regulatory authorities.

Christie Charity Magic Bullet funding secured for acquisition of translational samples and pilot translational studies to be performed (£168,000).

Future work

Open clinical trials:

  • Collect tumour and blood samples from pioneering clinical trials.
  • PD-RAD and PORT studies due to open to recruitment in 3Q2018

Translational research plan:

  • We will measure changes in immunological markers before and after treatment and assess the correlation between these phenotypic changes and the response to treatment.
  • The data will provide a greater understanding of the mechanisms underlying the benefits of combining radiotherapy and immunotherapy.