Research Involvement Network opportunity: Join a focus group and provide input into a study that is looking at combining chemotherapy and Nanoknife technology for pancreatic cancer patients undergoing surgery

Type of opportunity

Members of the Research Involvement Network are invited to attend an online focus group from 10.30-12.00 on Thursday 28th October 2021. At the session, the researcher will present the background of the project and then ask attendees to discuss and give their feedback on various aspects.

About the study

Pancreatic cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer-related death in the UK. Currently, Whipple’s operation (surgery removing part of the pancreas) followed by chemotherapy gives the best chance for long-term survival, although 5-year survival remains low. If the cancer recurs after surgery, it is usually because some cancerous cells haven’t been able to be removed due to their proximity to key blood vessels around the pancreas.

Neo-adjuvant chemotherapy is chemotherapy that is given to the patient prior to surgery, and there is currently growing interest is using this for pancreatic cancer patients as early data from trials suggests that it could increase survival rates.

Irreversible electroporation (NanoKnife), involves using an electrical current to cause cancer cell death and has emerged as a novel therapy for pancreatic cancer. This team has a new technique which uses NanoKnife immediately before surgery, to kill the cells at the edge of the cancerous tissue that is to be removed. There is evidence that this reduces the chance of the cancer recurring and improves the chance of survival. The team has undertaken a pilot study looking at 111 patients and saw that those treated with NanoKnife had significantly less cancer cells around the edge of the cancerous tissue and there was no difference in complications during or after surgery between the two groups.

The team would now like to go on to investigate these two methods further by performing a study looking into using combinations of neoadjuvant chemotherapy, NanoKnife technology, surgery and chemotherapy after surgery. There will be patients recruited at three trial sites; King’s College Hospital, Royal Free Hospital and Manchester University Hospital. The trial will assess the acceptability of the combination of treatments to patients and healthcare professionals and the ability of clinicians to perform the procedure using NanoKnife. This collaborative study will be supported by local clinical trial research unit at King’s College Hospital and looks forward to active Patient and Public Input and engagement with Pancreatic Cancer UK.

How will the study benefit people affected by pancreatic cancer?

It is hoped that the combination of neoadjuvant chemotherapy and NanoKnife technology along with surgery and post-operative chemotherapy will improve long-term survival of pancreatic cancer patients, by removing more of the cancerous cells and therefore reducing the chance on the cancer growing back after surgery.

Who is conducting the research?

Research and Innovation Department, Institute of Liver Studies, Clinical Trials Research Unit, King’s College Hospital.

Who can take up this opportunity?

Pancreatic cancer patients and survivors as well as their carers and loved ones.

What next/who to contact:

If you are interested joining the focus group, please get in contact with the Research Team (research@pancreaticcancer.org.uk).