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Lung Cancer Research

Cancer ResearchLung cancer is the most common cancer in Yorkshire with around 5,800 people in the county being diagnosed each year. Although people who have never smoked can develop the disease, smoking is the main cause of lung cancer and is responsible for around 90% of cases. The most common symptoms of lung cancer are a long-standing cough that gets worse, persistent chest infections, coughing up blood, breathlessness, frequent tiredness or lack of energy, and a loss of appetite or unexplained weight loss.



Cancer ResearchPeripheral Blood detection of EGFR status in lung cancer patients

The more information doctors have about the exact characteristics of patient’s cancer, the more tailored the treatment can be. It is known that 10% of lung cancer sufferers have a faulty protein on the surface of their cancer cells because of a mutation in the EGFR gene. These patients will respond better to a specific type of treatment, known as tyrosine kinase inhibitors, than to conventional chemotherapy. Current methods of detecting these mutations rely on invasive biopsies, which may be too risky for some patients. Professor Lind’s team at the University of Hull are working to develop a device that can detect EGFR mutations from a non-invasive blood sample and identify those patients that can benefit from this tailored treatment.


  • Principle investigator: Professor Michael Lind
  • University of Hull
  • Award amount: £98,711
  • March 2016 – August 2017



Cancer ResearchRadiosensitizing agents for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)

Radiotherapy is used to treat half of all patients with solid tumour cancers. However, the effectiveness of this treatment is limited by the damage it causes to healthy tissue and by the resistance of many tumours have to radiation. For example, the most common form of lung cancer, non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), is often radio-resistant.
In order to improve radiotherapy’s effectiveness it is sometimes used alongside chemotherapy, which can sensitise cancer cells to the treatment. Procedures currently used when combining these therapies may be further improved by use of a class of drugs called mitotic kinase inhibitors. These drugs affect the final stages of cell division, and may have the potential to enhance the effects of radiotherapy.


  • Principle investigator: Dr Helen Bryant
  • University of Sheffield
  • Award amount: £73,250
  • October 2015 – September 2018



Cancer ResearchAvoiding cardiac toxicity in lung cancer patients treated with curative-intent radiotherapy to improve survival

Many lung cancer patients are treated with radiotherapy, and while recent advances in this area have led to more people being treated successfully, it can cause severe damage to the heart.
Researchers from University of Manchester, The Christie NHS Foundation Trust and Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust will join forces to improve radiotherapy treatment for patients with lung cancer.
This study will determine if there are areas of the heart which are at greater risk of damage during radiotherapy, so that these areas can be avoided or protected during treatment. Reducing damage to the heart could improve one-year survival rates by around 10% and the findings could be applied in other cancers where radiotherapy may affect the heart such as breast cancer.


  • Principle investigator: Professor Corinne Faivre-Finn and Dr Kevin Franks
  • University of Manchester
  • Award amount: £272,142
  • September 2017 – August 2019



Cancer ResearchCurative treatment modalities of early stage Non Small Cell Lung Cancer: Effect on Patient Reported Outcomes of Video Assisted Thoracoscopic (VATS) Resection and Stereotactic Ablative Body Radiotherapy (SABR)

There are two primary treatment options for early stage non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC): surgery to remove the cancer or radiotherapy to kill the cancer cells. Professor Velikova’s team is examining how patients make the decision between these two treatment options. They will also help patients report any symptoms or problems arising after their treatment, and determine how they feel about the treatment decision process and the choices they made. This information can then be used to help other NSCLC patients make an informed decision about their treatment.


  • Principle investigator: Professor Galina Velikova
  • University of Leeds
  • Award amount: £200,083.47
  • January 2016 – December 2019



Cancer ResearchPEOPLE-HULL: Primary care and community Engagement to Optimise time to Presentation with Lung cancer symptoms in HULL

More people are diagnosed with and die from lung cancer in Hull than any other place in Yorkshire. “PEOPLE-HULL” aims to improve earlier diagnosis of lung cancer by:
1) getting people to see their doctor when they develop lung symptoms
2) getting GPs to see and refer them sooner.
Professor Macleod, Dr Mitchell and team will develop a community campaign about lung cancer stories and symptoms then invite smokers and ex-smokers for Lung Health Checks. These checks will provide tailored information about symptoms and brief tailored interventions to encourage consulting. The team will also work with GP practices to make it easier for people to get GP appointments and referrals to chest X-ray if they have potential lung cancer symptoms.


  • Principal applicant: Professor Una Macleod and Dr Liz Mitchell
  • Hull York Medical School
  • Award amount: £712,500
  • June 2017 – November 2020



Cancer ResearchThe Yorkshire Lung Screening Trial

Lung cancer is the biggest cancer killer in Yorkshire, with most patients presenting with advanced, incurable disease. A largescale study in the US has shown that checking people at high risk of lung cancer with regular screening scans detects early, curable cancer and reduces deaths by 20%. Lung cancer screening is not currently available in the UK, in part due to the fact that it is not yet clear which people would most benefit from screening. The Yorkshire Lung Screening Trial will test CT screening in mobile vans in community settings in Leeds and identify which people should be invited for screening. If lung cancer screening were introduced across Yorkshire, hundreds of lives could be saved every year.


  • Principal applicant: Dr Mat Callister
  • Leeds Teaching Hospital NHS Trust
  • Award amount: £5,215,936
  • May 2017 – April 2024