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The MENAC Trial: A randomised, open-label trial of a Multimodal Intervention (Exercise, Nutrition and Anti-inflammatory Medication) plus standard care versus standard care alone, to prevent/attenuate Cachexia in patients with advanced cancer undergoing chemotherapy.

Recipient: Professor Marie Fallon – developed by the late Professor Kenneth Fearon

Host Institution: University of Edinburgh

Title: The MENAC Trial: A randomised, open-label trial of a Multimodal Intervention (Exercise, Nutrition and Anti-inflammatory Medication) plus standard care versus standard care alone, to prevent/attenuate Cachexia in patients with advanced cancer undergoing chemotherapy 

Type of award: 2016 Research Grant

Funding: £157,377

Cachexia is a wasting syndrome characterised by the loss of weight, muscle, appetite and physical function, accompanied by fatigue and weakness. It is not simply caused by a reduction in food intake, but has an underlying cause, linked to the biology of the cancer itself. It is common in patients with advanced lung and pancreatic cancer where mean survival is less than one year. 

Cachexia is responsible for 20-30% of cancer deaths but there is currently no standard of care for the condition.

The MENAC trial team are working to understand the causes of, and combat, this distressing side-effect of cancer to help patients have a better quality of life. Earlier testing has shown that cachexia may be reversed through a combination of oral nutritional supplements and counselling, exercise and ibuprofen provided at the start of chemotherapy in people with advanced pancreatic or lung cancer. 

The MENAC trial is being led by researchers from the University of Edinburgh and the European Palliative Care Research Centre in Norway. The trial will be carried out in the UK, Scandinavia and Canada. 

If the trial demonstrates that this intervention can reduce weight loss, improve food intake and maintain physical function in people with pancreatic or lung cancer, this could potentially transform cachexia care. In addition, it would mean emerging targeted treatments for cachexia such as muscle building drugs can be more efficiently tested. 

The study is being funded through a unique collaboration between the Rising Tide Foundation for Clinical Cancer Research, Marie Curie and Pancreatic Cancer UK.