£5 million donated to personalised cancer treatments

The European Union has granted nearly £5 million (5.8 million Euros) towards research into personalised treatments for kidney cancer patients.

The money has been made available to the PREDICT (Personalised RNA interference to Enhance the Delivery of Individualised Chemotherapeutics and Targeted therapies) research consortium, led by scientists from the Cancer Research UK London Research Institute, The Royal Marsden Hospital and the Technical University of Denmark.

Part of the research will involve screening the entire gene set in kidney cancer patients to identify which genes regulate cancer cell growth in a low oxygen environment, which will help scientists to understand how cancer cells respond to drugs blocking growth of blood vessels to tumours (anti-angiogenesis).

The consortium will examine which of these genes can predict response to treatment with anti-angiogenesis drugs in patients treated within clinical trials.

Dr Charles Swanton, head of Translational Cancer Therapeutics at Cancer Research UK’s London Research Institute, who will help lead the scientific arm of the consortium, said: “This exciting opportunity means clinicians and scientists across several European centres of excellence can work together to find ways to match kidney cancer patients with the treatments that will work best for them.

“We hope the results will allow more patients to access the most effective therapies while reducing the use of less beneficial treatment.”

Although the initial studies will be in kidney cancer patients, the researchers hope to run projects across different types of cancer in the future.

Dr Lesley Walker, Director of Cancer Information at Cancer Research UK, said: “Personalised medicine could transform the lives of cancer patients in the UK. The ultimate aim is to treat every patient as an individual, and although we are still some way off, this research into kidney cancer will bring us one step closer.”