Dr Derek Grose is Consultant Clinical Oncologist and Honorary Senior Lecturer at the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre. At our upcoming Inspiring Change in Care Summit, Dr Grose will be talking about his research into neoadjuvant therapy. Here he answers a few of our questions:
Why did you want to take part in Pancreatic Cancer UK’s summit?
One of the biggest challenges we face is the lack of awareness of pancreatic cancer among the public, healthcare professionals and policymakers. Pancreatic Cancer UK is working hard to change that, so I was delighted to accept the invitation to speak at their summit.
What are you most looking forward to about the event?
Most scientific conferences are very niche, so this one is great because it’s open to everyone affected by pancreatic cancer. I’m looking forward to talking about my work and the difference that innovative care and research can make to people’s lives.
Why are new innovations in care and treatment so important?
Pancreatic cancer has one of the worst survival rate of any cancers and treatment options are very limited. New innovations are important because even a small improvement in care could have a dramatic effect on patients.
What improvements or innovations in care would you like to see realised in the next 5 years?
I would like there to be a clinical trial available for every patient. Only through trials will we be able to improve care, develop new treatments and stop people dying from pancreatic cancer.
Neoadjuvant therapy explained
Neoadjuvant therapy means giving someone a treatment ahead of their main treatment in order to make the main treatment more effective. It is already used successfully to treat some cancers however there is only limited evidence to support its usage in pancreatic cancer. In a small clinical trial Dr Grose and his team gave patients with potentially operable tumours chemotherapy, and in some cases radiotherapy, before having surgery to remove their cancer. And their results were very interesting. In some cases, the neoadjuvant therapy seemed to dramatically improve life-expectancy and in others, it had little or no effect. Neoadjuvant therapy could still be a game-changer, but more research needs to be done to find out why it works for some patients and not for others.