A New Five-Year Strategy for Cancer Research

The NCRI launch their five-year strategy, Cancer patients skip the GP and one man makes an incredible recovery…

The National Cancer Research Institute has launched it’s five-year strategy today, with the hope of accelerating research into Cancer through meaningful collaboration.

Last year the national partnership, that brings together the 19 biggest fundraisers of cancer research, organised over 250 meetings with the aim of sharing goals amongst private and public sectors.

Karen Kennedy, the Director of the NCRI, has come forward to stress the ‘urgent need for collaboration to fund research that addresses the complex needs of cancer patients at every stage of their journey through and beyond cancer’.

By combining the individual strengths of each organisation, the NCRI has been able to address problems in research that would have otherwise gone unsolved. Over £6 billion has been spent on cancer research since the partnership was first set up back in 2001.

In other news…

A study, funded by Cancer Research UK and published in the British Journal of General Practice, has revealed that approximately one third of patients diagnosed with cancer as an emergency in England had not seen their GP before.

This information coincides with a similar report, assessing Cancer in-patients in North East Scotland, where 28% of all patients also went straight to the emergency room before talking to their doctor.

Further analysis of these two reports have revealed worrying statistics concerning the way potential cancer patients are being treated at initial GP meetings. Of the 1,800 patients that were involved in the Scottish report, around 1 in 5 were diagnosed with cancer as an emergency. Generally speaking, emergency cancer diagnoses often lead to later stage diseases and weaker survival rates.

Jodie Moffat, head of early diagnosis for Cancer Research UK had this to say:

‘For some patients, emergency presentation may be difficult to avoid, but for others there are often things that could have been done differently. Studies like this help us to understand this complex picture and identify what to change’.

And finally…

A piece of good news mined from the depths of 2016, a year that was declared to be ‘the worst ever’.

In 2011, Mike Chettle was diagnosed with late-stage bowel cancer which soon spread to his bone, liver and abdomen. Three years later, despite several serious operations, Mike found himself in constant pain and virtually paralysed by his illness.

Relentless rounds of chemotherapy did little to help, leaving him with the daunting prospect of facing end of life care. Before he gave up hope, however, his doctor gave him one more option. Mike took part in a radical trial, using the drug pembrolizumab – two years later and the 26 tumours that once covered his body have now virtually disappeared.

This is a particular case that is purpose built to raise hopes. On the edge of death, Mike was able to make a huge recovery and even walk down his daughter down the aisle, a feat that would have been unfeasible before the introduction of this groundbreaking drug.

Tests will continue, with the hope that these incredible results can be replicated on a larger scale.