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A major breakthrough for lung cancer

A major breakthrough for lung cancer

UCL Hospitals Charitable Foundation is honoured to be working closely with Professor Sam Janes (pictured right) and the Lungs for Living team, fundraising in support of the exciting and pioneering Summit Study.

The Summit Study, which is underway, is being delivered by UCLH in close collaboration with UCL and GRAIL, Inc. (a US healthcare company focused on the early detection of cancer). The Summit Study's aims are to detect lung cancer early, and to develop a new blood test for the early detection of multiple cancer types, including lung cancer. Working with 50,000 people across London who have been identified as having the highest risk of lung cancer, chronic pulmonary disease and cardiovascular disease, the Summit Study is one of the largest trials of its kind in the world.

The Summit Study has revealed that early CT scans catch 70% of lung cancers at an early stage.

This evidence could change the future detection and treatment of lung cancer. 

‘It’s really a major breakthrough for lung cancer. Lung cancer has never had anything that enabled us to detect this devastating cancer earlier and offer curative treatment to this number of lung cancer patients’

- Dr Sam Janes, Senior Investigator of the SUMMIT Study, UCLH (The Guardian, Sunday 14th February 2021)

The UCLH Lung and Heart Bioresource will be a vast and unique dataset of biological information gathered by the world-class SUMMIT Study, one of the largest ever interventional trials of its kind. The biological findings gathered by it are, for the first time in the UK, paving the way for routine early screening for lung cancer, COPD and CVD.

Although the UK currently offers screening for breast cancer, bowel and cervical cancer, there is no screening for lung cancer, the deadliest cancer of all, accounting for more than a quarter of all cancer deaths. Over the years we have witnessed remarkable breakthrough treatment discoveries for many diseases, but not so for lung cancer, COPD and CVD which share many of the same risk factors. Individuals affected by one condition are very likely to suffer from another at some point in their lives. They continue to evade breakthrough, claiming the lives of 150,000 a year in England alone. About 48,000 people a year are diagnosed with lung cancer in the UK each year and 35,100 people die from it annually. Annual screening for lung cancer is now routine in the United States, following the success of a large-scale National Lung Screening Trial. This is having a remarkable effect on lung cancer outcome, resulting in a sharp reduction of lung cancer mortality.

We need your help to make a difference to the way that lung cancer is diagnosed and treated in the future.

The UCLH NHS Foundation Trust is seeking to change the way these three deadly diseases are diagnosed, managed and treated, dramatically increasing the chances of survival from them. Results are already showing that early screening is the way forward In order to validate hypotheses and deliver the evidence required to put early screening on the national agenda. The data collected from these activities in the UCLH Lung and Heart Bioresource is forming an unprecedented and invaluable volume of information which will inform and prove beyond doubt that early screening is the way forward. Lung cancer is hard to detect and three out of four cases are diagnosed at stage three or four, when it is too late to provide the patient with life-saving treatment. The early results of the Summit Study which provides early screenings to participants are astonishing. CT scanning as part of the study has meant that 70% of the growths detected in people’s lungs were identified when the disease was at stage one or two, stages at which treatment is often possible through surgery.

In Dr Sam Janes’s regular lung cancer clinic at UCLH, seven out of ten of his patients have incurable cancer by the time that they first see a doctor, yet of the cancers diagnosed early through the SUMMIT Study, seven out of ten cases are potentially curable because they have been detected earlier.

Funding for the Summit Study itself has been secured separately but will not extend to cover the cost of the essential £6.9 million UCLH Lung and Heart Bioresource that must be designed and built to be powerful enough to integrate the huge amount of biological data that The Summit Study will generate over its five-year period.

With an outstanding £4.73 million to secure, UCL Hospitals Charitable Foundation is working to a robust fundraising strategy.

Funding is being sought from a range of trusts and foundations, as well as from corporations and private individual donors who are keen to support cutting edge medical research.  These are exceptionally difficult times, but the success of projects like the Summit Study continue to lead the way for a better future, the outcomes of which will benefit existing and future patients and their friends, families and communities long after Covid-19 is brought under control.

To make a donation, please click the ‘Donate now’ button on this website, or make a cheque payable to UCLH Charitable Foundation, for the attention of Shirley Featherstone, and send it to the address on the home page of this website. If you would prefer to make a donation via BACS please contact shirley.featherstone@nhs.net for our bank account information. We hope that you will consider supporting the UCLH Lung and Heart Bioresource and help us to change the future of lung cancer, making a real and lasting difference to our crucial work.

If you would like any further information about our work, please do not hesitate to contact Shirley Featherstone at shirley.featherstone@nhs.net - thank you.