Thousands of people living in Hull and East Yorkshire will have the opportunity to take part in world-leading research following £2.6 million in funding from Yorkshire Cancer Research.
Two new research studies will test pioneering approaches to cancer prevention and treatment as part of the charity’s aim to save 2000 lives from cancer each year in the region.
A £1.5 million study, led by researchers at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, will focus on the prevention of cervical cancer in older women.
More than 5000 women living in Hull aged between 65 and 79 will be offered an at-home urine test to find out if they carry a virus called HPV (Human papillomavirus), which is linked to nearly all cases of cervical cancer.
Led by Ms Clare Gilham and Professor Julian Peto, the study will aim to discover if at-home tests are an effective way to reduce cancer in this older age group.
Ms Gilham said: “Around 4 in 5 people will have HPV at some point in their lives, but there are no symptoms. Cervical screening, which tests for HPV, is only available up to the age of 64, so women aged 65 and over may not know if they have the virus.
“If HPV is detected through the urine test, those with HPV will be able to access further tests and screening to prevent cancer developing.”
Yorkshire Cancer Research has also announced funding for a £1.1 million clinical trial, which will test the benefits of personalised, home-based exercise programmes for people with lung, breast or bowel cancer.
Evidence suggests that exercise after cancer treatment can reduce the risk of dying from bowel or breast cancer by as much as 40% compared to those who are inactive.
The study, led by Dr Cynthia Forbes at Hull York Medical School, the University of Hull, will involve 660 people in Yorkshire, who will receive support from specially trained exercise professionals.
Dr Forbes said: “Yorkshire has one of the highest cancer death rates in England, and there is an urgent need to optimise treatment and ensure more people survive. We aim to find out if home-based exercise can not only help increase survival but also help people recover from treatment more quickly.
“If successful, the study could lead to a future larger-scale trial that would provide evidence for a new model of personalised exercise programmes that could be implemented as part of standard care.”
Dr Kathryn Scott, Chief Executive at Yorkshire Cancer Research, said: “Yorkshire is one of the regions hardest hit by cancer, and that’s why it’s so important that people living here are able to take part in pioneering and innovative studies. With cancer screening, GP appointments, diagnostic tests and treatment significantly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, we have a huge task on our hands. These trials will save lives.”
The new research is part of a wider £7.3m investment by the charity in new programmes across Yorkshire.