Research Involvement Network opportunity: Provide input into a Pancreatic Cancer UK Career Foundation Fellowship application aiming to develop ways to make chemotherapy safer and more effective

Type of opportunity

Participants will be asked to complete an online questionnaire that will ask them about their treatment, or the treatment their loved ones received, and the difficulties associated with receiving these treatments. This will give the researcher feedback and allow him to gauge how significant/beneficial this project would be to pancreatic cancer patients. There will also be questions around future engagement of people affected by pancreatic cancer.

In addition, there is also an opportunity to give written feedback on the lay summary for this application.  Fellowship applications are reviewed by people affected by pancreatic cancer after submission. Therefore, input from RIN at this early stage in the application process helps to ensure the language used is clear and that people affected by pancreatic cancer remain at the heart of the research. Lay summaries are short and no longer than 800 words so should not take a long time to feedback on.

About the study

Many patients diagnosed with pancreatic cancer that is locally advanced (stage 3), must receive chemotherapy to shrink the tumour to allow it to be removed (resected). This treatment is known as neoadjuvant chemotherapy.  This project aims to develop an administration methodology that will greatly reduce the side effects of this pre-operative chemotherapy.

The injected hydrogel will gradually release, either Gemcitabine or Folfirinox, the two most commonly administered neoadjuvant therapies. The hydrogel will act as a reservoir of de-activated chemotherapy agents that will activate and release its cargo in response to chemical signalling agents produced by cancer cells. The chemical signalling agents, known as reactive oxygen species, are produced in much lower quantities in healthy tissues when compared to tumour environments, preventing side effects.

How will the study benefit people affected by pancreatic cancer?

Due to the toxic nature of chemotherapy drugs, the health of some patients deteriorates to the point that resection becomes too dangerous, and it cannot be conducted. As well as increasing patient quality of life for the duration of the neoadjuvant chemotherapy treatment, this method will prevent the deterioration of patient health, thus giving more patients access to this potentially life-saving operation of resection.

Patients who are diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer are often given chemotherapy in order to prolong their life. This delivery method would ensure that those patients are able to receive this treatment without the associated side effects, improving their quality of life during the time of treatment.

The proposed combined reservoir and controlled release strategy nature of this hydrogel will enable large drug doses to be administered, which will be released over time. This would mean fewer trips to the clinic for patients receiving chemotherapy, improving patient quality of life and reducing the burden on the NHS.

Who is conducting the research?

Dr George Thomas Williams, University of Birmingham

Who can take up this opportunity?

Any member of the Research Involvement Network is invited to complete the questionnaire and give feedback on the lay summary. The first part of the questionnaire is more aimed towards pancreatic cancer patients and their family/carers that were closely involved in the neoadjuvant treatment process. The second part is applicable to anyone affected by pancreatic cancer.

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)?

All questionnaires and feedback on the lay summary will be anonymised.

What next/who to contact:

If you would like to complete the questionnaire, please follow this link. The deadline for submissions is 30th September 2021.

If you are interested in giving feedback on the lay summary for this application, then please get in contact with the Research Team.