NCIC Lung Cancer Trial: Largest in FHS History
I am thrilled to announce that the NCIC Clinical Trials Group (NCIC CTG) has developed and will lead an international clinical trial of a new class of cancer drug aimed at curing lung cancer in patients who have had surgery and chemotherapy for disease confined to the lung. This research contract with AstraZeneca is the largest in the history of the Faculty of Health Sciences. Our ongoing efforts in the NCIC CTG serve to reinforce our FHS industry engagement strategy, which strives to fortify existing relationships with industry and to promote and develop new ones.
The academic-led trial will impact lung cancer patients following standard treatment. Lung cancer is the second most common cancer in North America and is the leading cancer killer in both men and women. The new drug, MEDI4736 (AstraZeneca), is one of a new class of pharmaceuticals that helps the body’s immune system recognize and attack cancer. Drugs in this class have already been approved for use in patients with malignant melanoma, but this will be the first trial in the world to test the drug in the setting of early lung cancer treatment.
“This trial will test a new drug from an emerging class of agents that doesn’t directly kill cancer cells but instead improves our own immune system’s ability to fight and kill the cancer cells,” says trial leader Glen Goss. “We are moving these drugs into the earliest stage of lung cancer treatment and meeting a major unmet need.”
The trial is being conducted internationally, with collaboration from the Intergroupe Francophone de Cancerologie Thoracique (France), the National Cancer Institute (US), Naples (Italy), the Australasian Lung Cancer Trials Group & National Health and Medical Research Council Clinical Trials Centre (Australia), , the Spanish Lung Cancer Group, the Dutch Society for Pulmonology and Tuberculosis (NVALT), the Central and East European Oncology Group, the Korean Cancer Study Group and the National Cancer Centre Singapore.
The NCIC CTG has been a part of the Faculty of Health Sciences since 1980. Its primary mission is to assess the effectiveness of interventions to prevent the development of cancer or improve the care of those patients who do develop cancer What started as a small operation has now grown into a sophisticated organization with 100 staff, a dozen senior investigators, partnerships with centres across the globe and ongoing support from the Canadian Cancer Society.
The Faculty of Health Sciences’ vision is to Ask Questions, Seek Answers, Advance Care and Inspire Change. This trial is a great example of all four elements of our vision in action. The trial exists because we asked questions: how can we think about different ways of treating lung cancer? Then we sought answers. It was two years of hard work to pull together this trial with our industry partner, Astra Zeneca and to solidify relationships with collaborators across the world. A trial of this magnitude will undoubtedly advance care for those affected by lung cancer. As a result, together we are inspiring change with a resolve to turn the way that we think about cancer on its head: from a disease that always wins, to a disease that we can consistently defeat.