Cancer Research UK has announced plans to fund a £1.47million research programme to lead to major advances in lung cancer treatments.
A team of scientists led by Dr James O’Connor from The University of Manchester, will use the cash injection to look at how imaging techniques can be used to improve treatment plans for lung cancer patients.
Ashley Kemp, 28, from Cadishead, Salford, lost her gran Dorothy Williams to lung cancer when she was aged just 65 in 2010.
She said: “I know my gran would be delighted to know the University can move forward with their studies.
“Hopefully it can bring better treatment to lung cancer patients in the future – not just in Manchester but in the UK.”
She added: “For us as a family, we watched our gran go from a healthy, attractive, active, glamorous woman -who would walk for miles in the fields surrounding her house – to a skeleton, who felt “stripped of her femininity” with no hair and no meat on her bones.
“She could barely take a few steps without gasping for her breath. It was as painful for us to watch as it was for her to endure. 65 was no age, she should have been enjoying her retirement.”
The research will look at non-small cell lung cancer – which makes up around 85 per cent of lung cancers in the UK.
Every year around 46,400 people are diagnosed with lung cancer in the UK, including around 3,600 people in Greater Manchester, Lancashire and South Cumbria
That makes it the North West’s most common cancer.
The Manchester team will work to develop new ways to use imaging techniques like magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to better understand how lung cancer tumours respond to treatment.
The information they gather could then be used to evaluate new therapies and in the future, might help doctors select the right treatment for each patient.
Dr O’Connor said: “We hope this research will transform the way we use scans to monitor how patients respond to new therapies.
“It’s an exciting area where we are aiming to combine drugs that harness the body’s immune system with well-established treatments like radiotherapy, and at the same time, create tests to identify which patients would benefit from these drugs.
“It builds on earlier research but we will be applying it to lung cancer specifically.”
It’s hoped the lab-based research will produce clinical trials to test these techniques within three to four years.