Success stories

The ECMC Network and the people within it are central to the delivery of innovative research.

The following success stories are just a sample of the trials and studies supported by the ECMC initiative that demonstrate the quality and innovation of the Network.

First in class/First in human studies
  • The Belfast ECMC is investigating a new anti-angiogenic agent discovered at the Queen's School of Pharmacy. The ALM201 study is a first-in-human study in up to 60 patients with ovarian cancer.
  • Sponsored by Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Oxford ECMC is participating in an international dose escalation and expansion study of a new oral RAF-kinase inhibitor (MLN2480) for melanoma.
  • UCL will open a first-in-man trial of BLU-554, a highly selective inhibitor of FGFR4, for advanced hepatocellular cancer and biliary tract cancer. This will be one of the first HCC trials that is enriched based on target expression.

Novel combinations
  • ICR/Marsden ECMC has been leading on a number of trials combining novel agents with other novel agents or with standard therapy, many of which are part of the ECMC Combinations Alliance, in partnership with AstraZeneca. ComPAKT is a good example of how the ECMC Network and Industry have combined their resources and expertise to address solid tumours.  In fact this study set up has been the fastest to date, with the first patient’s first treatment achieved less than 6 months after CR-UK’s New Agents Committee met to approve the trial.
Other novel therapeutics
  • Leicester ECMC are supporting a trial examining whether the addition of the plant extract curcumin to the FOLFOX chemotherapy regimen for metastatic colorectal cancer improves efficacy or reduces side effects. This work has progressed from Phase 1 to randomised Phase 2.
Surgery and radiotherapy
  • Imperial ECMC has initiated a first-in-human evaluation of i-knife technology for intra-operative cancer margin assessment in colorectal cancer. The i-knife burns through tissue and the resulting smoke is analysed in real time by mass spectrometry indicating where the cancer margins are.
  • Focusing on patients with sarcoma, Manchester ECMC is conducting an imaging study to help determine the best MRI imaging technique for assessing early response to radiotherapy.
Translational research
  • Patients with bladder cancer stand to benefit from studies at Oxford ECMC that have identified a biomarker that may help select those patients most likely to benefit from radiotherapy.
  • The Edinburgh/Dundee ECMC has been working on building a predictive model for progression in breast cancer. This has been submitted for patent protection.
  • Circulating tumour cells are being extensively investigated in the network as a potential route to monitor response to treatment and the development of resistance. Published in Nature Medicine, Manchester ECMC has developed a unique approach to studying small cell lung cancer. Circulating tumour cell samples, taken at patient presentation and again at relapse, will shed light on the mechanisms of drug resistance, facilitate novel drug target identification and be used to test novel agents.