Type of opportunity

Members of the Research Involvement Network are invited to contribute to a discussion as part of a focus group taking place on Thursday 10th December 2020 from 2-4pm. The focus group will be conducted virtually, via Zoom video conferencing.

If you prefer not to take part in a focus group there is also an opportunity to complete an online questionnaire.

About the study

Recent research has demonstrated that using combinations of chemotherapy and radiotherapy before surgery, improves the outcomes for patients with pancreatic cancer.

Proton Beam Therapy (PBT) and conventional radiotherapy damage cancer cells. PBT releases the majority of its energy in one specific area – the tumour, whilst conventional radiotherapy can affect the tissues and organs surrounding  the tumour. In pancreatic cancer the tumour may be close to critical organs such as the stomach and duodenum. Radiation damages healthy cells. Most healthy cells recover but the cells of these critical organs do not recover very well.  Therefore, proton beam therapy may potentially have less side effects than conventional radiotherapy when treating patients with pancreatic cancer as the organs and tissue surrounding the tumour are less likely to be affected.

Primus 002 is a UK based clinical trial evaluating the role of chemotherapy and chemoradiation using photon therapy prior to surgery. The researchers propose to embed this sub study within the PRIMUS 002 trial to demonstrate that PBT is safe and to help us identify the patients most likely to benefit from it. Part of the study will also look at whether it is acceptable to patients to travel to a Proton Centre for treatment.

Analysing the data from patients treated with PBT will provide a deeper understanding of its potential role in the treatment of pancreatic cancer. We will be able to identify the benefits and any drawbacks of using proton therapy to help develop and run a larger future trial.

How will the study benefit people affected by pancreatic cancer?

This is trial for patients who have localised pancreatic cancer where there may be concern that surgery would not be able remove the entire tumour; for instance if it is in contact with critical blood vessels. The treatment schedule in the trial is aimed at shrinking the tumour to make it more likely to be removed completely by the surgeons. This has the potential to improve the success rate of  surgery and extend survival for patients.

Who is drafting this proposal and leading the focus group?

Dr Ganesh Radhakrishna, Consultant Clinical Oncologist, The Christie NHS Foundation Trust will be leading the focus group.

How is this study different from Dr Rob Chuter’s opportunity ‘Help to inform a funding application discussing different radiotherapy treatment options for hepatobiliary cancer’ included in the August RIN bulletin?

The fundamental differences between this study and the one being conducted by Dr Rob Chuter are:

  • This is a clinical trial which is open to patients
  • This study is exclusively focussing on Proton Beam Therapy and not MRI Linac
  • This study is focussed only on patients with borderline and resectable pancreatic cancer and refers to radiotherapy treatments prior to surgery rather than for palliative treatment

Any RIN member who got involved in the focus group with Dr Rob Chuter is also welcome to get involved with this opportunity. If you have any further questions about this please email us.

When will this opportunity be taking place?

Please express your interest by no later than 9th December 2020. 

Who can take up this opportunity?

This opportunity is aimed at anyone who has been affected by pancreatic cancer (any member of the Research Involvement Network).

What steps will be taken to ensure that information about participants is stored and used in compliance with the provisions outlined in the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)?

Data will be kept on a password protected computer. Any personal data will only be used for the purposes of this project. Focus groups will be recorded, and transcribed verbatim. Recordings will be deleted following transcription.

What next/who to contact:

Please contact the Pancreatic Cancer UK Research Team if you are interested in attending the focus group. Alternatively, you can access the survey.