New research alliance for lung cancer is launched in London

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: (Published 24 April 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f2637
  1. Jacqui Wise
  1. 1London

All patients in London with newly diagnosed lung cancer are to be offered genetic testing of their tumour and targeted treatments through a research programme that brings together leading research institutions and hospitals in the capital.

The London Lung Cancer Alliance, backed by England’s chief medical officer, Sally Davies, aims to transform the care of patients with lung cancer. Survival rates in the United Kingdom are worse than across much of Europe, with less than 10% of patients still alive five years after diagnosis.

As many as 3000 patients a year with newly diagnosed lung cancer will be included in the research programme, which will cover the whole lung cancer pathway from identification and screening to testing of new treatments.

All the patients will be given gene testing of their cancers at diagnosis and offered personalised treatments—many of which have been previously untried in lung cancer. Some of the treatments are targeted at molecular defects that may be present in only a small proportion of lung cancers.

The alliance includes Imperial College, King’s College, the Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Foundation Trust, the Institute of Cancer Research, the Royal Marsden, St George’s Healthcare NHS Trust, and Barts Cancer Institute. The London Lung Cancer Alliance will also link up with research programmes in Newcastle, Southampton, Liverpool, Cardiff, and Edinburgh.

Alan Ashworth, chair of the London Lung Cancer Alliance and chief executive of the Institute of Cancer Research, said: “For far too long the prospects for patients with lung cancer have been bleak. But now we have an opportunity to change that as new genetic techniques for studying tumours open up the prospect of trialling novel targeted therapies for lung cancer.”

He added: “The London Lung Cancer Alliance has brought together leading organisations across London with the aim of applying state of the art technology to radically shake up the way we treat lung cancer. We believe that this new alliance will genuinely improve the prospects for lung cancer patients.”

James Spicer, reader in experimental oncology at King’s College London, commented: “The explosion in our understanding of lung cancer biology is at last leading to a growing list of experimental treatment options for lung cancer.”


Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f2637