Pancreatic Cancer UK has today (Friday 20th May), launched the first-ever interactive UK-wide map and database detailing current clinical trials specifically dedicated to the disease.
As the clinical and research community unite to mark International Clinical Trials Day, heralding the importance of trial participation and their potential for future change, Pancreatic Cancer UK’s free, online tool will help time-pressured healthcare professionals get the information they need quickly and easily to best support their patients.
Survival rates for the devastating disease have barely improved for 40 years. If they do not increase, the leading charity has recently warned that the number of people dying of pancreatic cancer every year will rise from 8,700 to 11,700 by 2030. ** Better recruitment onto clinical trials and a greater understanding of pancreatic cancer and how it might be treated is essential if we are to prevent this bleak outlook from becoming reality.
Alongside the charity’s Trial Finder is a range of short films featuring research nurses from Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge answering common questions and pancreatic cancer patients describing their experiences to help anyone considering the possibility of trials or wanting to know more. Susie Zaborszky, a Clinical Trials Research Nurse at Addenbrooke’s who appears in the films, urges other nurses and any clinicians working in the field to signpost patients to these new materials. Susie commented:
“While clinical trials aren’t suitable for all, these excellent films offer essential information in plain language that help answer so many common questions and help allay common concerns of patients. At the same time Pancreatic Cancer UK’s Trial Finder will help us as professionals keep up to date more easily and know we are giving patients and families what they need as fast as possible.”
Robert Harness from Essex, talks about his experience in one of three patient films alongside the Pancreatic Cancer UK Trial Finder. He was diagnosed in 2014. After standard treatments such as FOLFIRINOX proved ineffective, his team referred him to the trials unit at The Royal Marsden. Robert said:
“I didn’t really know what clinical trials were when I was first diagnosed, what they do, or how to get onto them. Once I’d spoken to the team at The Royal Marsden, I could see this was a chance to try something positive rather than do nothing and to contribute towards research which might help future patients.
“If it also helps with my own treatment I’d see it as an added bonus. I was lucky to be referred automatically but to be able to find trials information in one place online that explains everything so clearly will really benefit patients and their families who weren’t as fortunate as I was.”
Pancreatic Cancer UK wants to make sure all pancreatic cancer patients in the UK can access more new, effective treatments on the NHS to help them survive and improve their quality of life. These latest new tools are supporting the charity’s ongoing campaign Key to Survival.***
Alex Ford, Chief Executive of Pancreatic Cancer UK said:
“So often people with pancreatic cancer and their families have told us how difficult it can be to find out about clinical trials and options that may be out there when they are already coping with a great deal of stress and anxiety. So we are hopeful that the Pancreatic Cancer UK Trial Finder will make life a little easier for patients and aid healthcare professionals to give patients the best support they possibly can.”
*The Pancreatic Cancer UK Trial Finder and films will be live on our site from 10am on Friday 20th May.
**Pancreatic Cancer UK has estimated that by 2030, if survival rates don’t improve, then 11,672 people every year will die from the disease. This was based on Cancer Research UK figures which state that the current number of deaths from pancreatic cancer per year is (as of 2012) 8,662 cases.
*** Find out more about our Key to Survival campaign.