TRACERx – a new era in lung cancer research

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Source: Cancer Research UK Science Blog

At the turn of the millennium, Bill Clinton stood in front of the White House to announce a milestone in scientific and human history.

Scientists had produced a map of our DNA, a breakthrough that was set to revolutionise medicine, and our understanding of diseases like cancer.

Nobel prizes were awarded. Progress was promised.

Eight years later, Tracey and Heidi’s sister Ceri was diagnosed with a form of lung cancer. She was just 34. She had an 11 year-old daughter. She died the following year.

For all the promise, fanfare and hype – to say little of the billions of dollars spent on molecular cartography – the map of human genome had done precious little to save her.

Lung cancer is a terrible disease. It develops covertly, is usually diagnosed late, and rapidly develops resistance to treatment. As a result, it claims nearly 35,000 lives in the UK each year (and an estimated 1.4 million worldwide). Survival rates have only improved fractionallyin forty years.

This needs to change.

Today we’re announcing a multi-million pound research project – TRACERx – that will exploit the map of the human genome to explore, in unprecedented detail, what makes lung cancer tick.

Our researchers will be analysing how the genetic changes inside the lung cancers of more than 850 patients change over time, from their point of diagnosis and throughout their treatment.

On top of this, they’ll be throwing a whole suite of cutting edge analytical techniques at these patients’ tumours samples, to understand what’s going on inside them as their cancers grow and spread.

At £14 million, it’s the biggest single investment in lung cancer research we’ve ever made, and the start of a strategic Cancer Research UK-wide focus on the disease. And the end result will be – we hope – a transformation in understanding the disease, and real progress for patients….Read More 

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