Lung cancer: a clinical trial to improve treatment
Last updated: 11/12/2012
What's this project about?
Each year, around 1.4 million people worldwide are diagnosed with lung cancer, and unfortunately survival rates are very poor.
We urgently need to find more effective treatments to improve the outcome for people with this disease. Dr Corinne Faivre-Finn is leading a major international clinical trial that aims to find the best treatment for small cell lung cancer (SCLC).
Supporting this project
Angelina donatedThinking of you all. Amazin... Thinking of you all. Amazing cause, hope there's a cure one day. Love Angelina & Mike. Xx more
Kate donatedGo, go, go Farida! We'll be... Go, go, go Farida! We'll be cheering you on. Love Kate, Nick, Matilda and Poppy. xxx more
JACKIE donatedMy heart goes out to the Ri... My heart goes out to the Richmond Family RIP Paul X more
Project closed - September 2012
Thank you to everyone who has helped us to reach the project target of £71,000! This is an incredible achievement and we really appreciate your support.
Fundraising and donations to this project have now closed, but we are raising money for another area of lung cancer research that you can support:
Project update - April 2012
We are really close to hitting the project target and Dr Corinne Faivre-Finn gives us the latest update on the clinical trial:
Recruitment into the CONVERT trial is going very well, patient number 332 was included today (we only need to include another 200 patients in order to achieve our target of 532).
On average we are including around 10 patients per month and the new estimated date for recruitment to close is mid 2013. We now have 89 sites open to recruitment. As well as continuing to open sites in the UK, France, Spain and Canada, we are hoping to open sites in Germany and Ireland in 2012.
Because of the nature of clinical trials, the team cannot report any of the findings of the trial until the full number of people have been recruited and given their treatment. They all then need to be followed up for a period of time to find out the outcomes from their treatment. The number of people needed to achieve a statistically meaningful result at the end of the trial is carefully selected using mathematical calculations.
The CONVERT trial is due to stop recruiting people in March 2013, when it hopefully will have reached the target number. But the team will continue to receive funding from Cancer Research UK for almost a year after that - until the end of January 2014.
This is to allow enough time for all of the patients to receive their treatment and be followed up - even those recruited towards the end of the trial. This phase of the trial is absolutely crucial, allowing scientists to gather all of the data together and start analysing the results to find out whether the new treatment is better than the standard one.
Clinical trials such as these are monitored closely by committees who have access to the preliminary results coming from a trial when the doctors and scientists do not. This means that if the trial treatment(s) is much better - or worse - than the standard treatment, the trial can be stopped. In cases where the new treatment is beneficial the trial will be stopped so that everyone can be offered it.
Project update - July 2011
Dr Corinne Faivre-Finn contacted us recently to give an update on how the project is progressing:
The CONVERT trial is running really well, in fact we are almost half way through recruiting the number of people we need for the trial!
We're also asking the people who take part in the CONVERT study if they are willing to donate blood and tissue samples for us to use in our research. We hope that this will help us find new "markers" to help us identify those people more likely to benefit from chemotherapy and radiotherapy or people who are more likely to experience nasty side-effects. This important research may help us tailor treatments to individual people in the future.
As an aside from this project, we have also recently started a new Cancer Research UK funded clinical trial, called REST, in collaboration with the Dutch Lung Cancer Group. This trial will look at using radiotherapy in some people whose lung cancer has spread.
Project update - March 2011
We spoke with Dr Faivre-Finn, and she shared the latest news about the CONVERT trial:
We are pleased to tell you that almost 200 patients have now been recruited to the CONVERT study. We made substantial progress in 2010 and we hope to be more than half way through the study by the end of the year. We now have over 80 centres open in the UK, Europe and Canada and the CONVERT study remains the only study of its kind in Europe.
Your generous donations are making a big difference to our research into this devastating disease - CONVERT would not have been possible without your support.
Project update - November 2010
Dr Faivre-Finn has been keeping up with our progress towards the project target, and sent along another update to share what your support is helping to do:
I'm pleased to say that we are continuing to make good progress, as we've now recruited 136 patients to take part in the CONVERT trial. We have a total of 64 recruitment centres open in the UK, Belgium, Netherlands, Poland, Slovenia, France, Spain, and Canada, with plans to open new centres in Switzerland in the near future.
CONVERT is still the only trial of its kind in Europe, set to work out the most effective treatment schedule for people with small cell lung cancer, with the aim of improving survival. Well done on the fundraising so far, and keep up the great work - your support is crucial.
Project update - August 2010
We caught up with Dr Faivre-Finn to hear how the project is going. She sent along an update to let you know what your support is helping to do:
We have now recruited 118 patients to take part in the CONVERT trial. And we're excited to tell you that we have also opened a number of centres in Canada and are planning to open new centres in Switzerland next year.
CONVERT is the only trial of its kind in Europe and will establish a standard of care for treating patients with small cell lung cancer. We're also carrying out a unique translational research study alongside the main trial, which could eventually lead to tests to help us to tailor the treatment to individual patients - giving them the best chance of survival and sparing patients unnecessary side effects.
What is the science behind this project?
People with SCLC often have a combination of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. But currently, they can receive this in different treatment schedules. For example, some will have both treatments at the same time, whereas others receive one after the other. Equally, some people have radiotherapy twice a day, while others have it only once a day. Unfortunately, it's not clear at the moment which is the most effective way to treat people with SCLC. This is where the clinical trial comes in.
The CONVERT trial, as it is called, aims to discover the most effective chemotherapy and radiotherapy schedule for people with SCLC. The researchers will investigate the best total dose of radiation to give, and whether radiotherapy once or twice a day provides the greater benefits.
Looking to the future
The trial started in early 2008 and the team aims to recruit more than 500 people with SCLC over the next four years.
The researchers hope the trial will show which treatment schedule is the best at prolonging life and minimising side effects for patients. The one that provides the greater benefits may be adopted as the new 'gold standard' treatment for SCLC in the future - improving the outlook and quality of life for people with this common form of cancer.
Watch Dr Corinne Faivre-Finn explain more about this research project. A full transcript of this video is available.
The difference you can make
Lung cancer is the most common cancer in the world and there is an urgent need to find more effective treatments. Dr Faivre-Finn's trial will help beat lung cancer in the future.
Please help us raise £71,000 to help fund one year of Dr. Faivre-Finn's vital 4 year trial.
Participating in the CONVERT trial
The CONVERT trial is still open for participation. Find out the criteria for participating and how you can join this trial.
When Nicki learned of her mum's lung cancer diagnosis, she wanted to do something to support her. Her mum always loved Nicki's knitting, so she began stitching a warm blanket. After her mum passed away, Nicki wanted to make her effort even more special by raising money for lung cancer research. She didn't know how to do it, until she discovered MyProjects.
The story of Mum's blanket
Mum was always quite proud of my handicrafts - I remember her showing off the first sewing I did when I was five - with some astonishment at what I'd been able to do! (It wasn't very good but she loved it anyway). Over the years I've focused on knitting, finding it almost meditative. Repetitive, but always constructive and productive.
I was planning on making the blanket before we heard Mum's diagnosis in September 2008. She'd been poorly for a while and I think at heart I'd always had it in mind for her as something to comfort and hold her. It was a big challenge - a double with bobbles, 'apple pie' leaves, and the scale all being new to me. But it was also a beautiful design and something I thought Mum would like. In a world of practical quilts and fleecy blankets, there's still a place for something handmade.
The lung cancer diagnosis knocked my family sideways. Harder still as we all live quite a way from each other. For me, the blanket came into its own, a project of distraction…and love....as I travelled up and down to see them. Mum was chuffed when she saw the first square and I have a vivid memory of her hands inspecting it that I cherish.
Sadly we lost Mum in January. In the months to come I knitted the blanket while commuting on trains and buses, when I got home at night, when I visited friends and family. Some of the squares knitted with ease. Others stubbornly refused to bit knitted first, second or third time. But it was always my solace. I soon realised that I wanted it to be really special - to support a charity in Mum's memory. But I didn't know how I could fundraise with it and didn't really believe anyone would donate. So I put the fundraising off.
Raising money for Mum's blanket
By August, I realised the blanket could be finished by late October. My 40th birthday. I could give something back for mum. When I found the lung cancer research trial on MyProjects, it was just the thing to make me plump up the courage to start the Giving Group. It was nerve-wracking - I still wasn't sure it would raise anything, so I set a tentative £250 target.
I'm humbled and amazed at how generous people can be, especially given the difficult economic circumstances this year. The target went from £250 to £500in days. Building up nerve, I asked my old employer if they might like to donate and got another £200. And now we've gone well beyond the £1000 target - just from friends, family and work colleagues. And what a difference Gift Aid can make!
A week to go before Mum's blanket's finish date
There were a couple of unexpected challenges - another 24 squares taking the total from 96 to 120 - and some rather troublesome trims. But with donations building up and a promise to get it finished by the 28th Oct, I couldn't let everyone down. After some marathon knitting, Mum's Blanket was back on track. A quick email reminder and some new pictures of the blanket's progress, brought more donations with some coming in from family and friends abroad.
The last trim was finished, the last square sewn in and the trims attached. It was done, but would it survive the washing machine? A very nervous hour or so and the blanket came out. Whole! and looking better than went in - what a relief! Now it's a lovely proper double size and the extra clicking was more than worth it.
I'd never imagined Mum's blanket would generate this interest or generosity. Perhaps it's the idea of fundraising with something that you pour your love into as you make it, that wraps around you and holds you when you need comfort. Just like a mum.
Of course, the money we've raised is just a fraction of what's required to meet the research trial's target. But every penny counts and Mum's blanket goes to show what might be achieved even with the most unlikely of fundraising ideas! And most importantly, it's a very worthy cause. Lung cancer is the most common cause of adult cancer death in the UK and from my own family's experience, we know how vital treatment trials are if there's a chance to improve the prospects and quality of life of those with lung cancer, and their loved ones.
Now the blanket's ready to head off to Mum's local hospice the Weldmar Hospicecare Trust to start on its new role as a raffle prize! Come the New Year, the blanket will have found its new home. I hope it continues to be special to its new owners and brings them many years of comfort. My hands aren't quite sure what to do with themselves…perhaps I'll start another blanket for charity....
Donating Mum's blanket
The Joseph Weld Hospice in Dorchester was very glad to get the blanket. It's going to be a star prize in a raffle and the name 'Mum's blanket' seems to be something special so I think they'll be hanging on to that. It's a really nice place as well - Mum never had the chance to use it – comforting, cheery and with a great views. I imagine a real comfort to patients and relatives.
I'm glad that the lung cancer project continues to raise funds – it's a very important trial. From our own experience, so little is known about how to improve people's chances with lung cancer because they can go so quickly. So anything that helps that will be brilliant. Sadly, I have heard of some other friends whose families have been touched by lung cancer. Perhaps we'll get a Mum's blanket type project going for them too.
Visit Mum's blanket to see what others have said about supporting the group.