Oesophageal cancer: Fund a clinical trial to find a more effective treatment

Last updated: 12/05/2014

A female scientist looking through a microscope

What's this project about?

The number of people diagnosed with oesophageal (foodpipe) cancer has risen in Great Britain over the past 30 years. Each year, around 8,000 people are diagnosed with oesophageal cancer in the UK - that's over 150 people every week.

Oesophageal cancer remains one of the hardest cancers to treat, often because it is diagnosed late. Beating oesophageal cancer is one of Cancer Research UK's priorities and we hope that our groundbreaking work will help survival rates to dramatically improve.

 
 
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What's the science behind the project?

Professor David Ferry is Professor of Medical Oncology at New Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton. He is leading a large clinical trial to see if the drug gefitinib (Iressa) can improve survival rates in people who have oesophageal cancer that has returned after treatment/chemotherapy. This trial has now recruited.

Doctors often use chemotherapy to treat oesophageal cancer that has come back, but while some people respond well to this treatment, others may not. Professor Ferry wants to see if gefitinib may be a more effective way to treat the disease.

Gefitinib works by blocking signals that can help cancer cells grow. This treatment may have benefits such as fewer side effects, as it specifically targets cancer cells and leaves healthy cells unharmed. Professor Ferry hopes to find out if gefitinib will improve survival and the quality of life for people whose oesophageal cancer has returned.

The difference you can make

The number of people surviving oesophageal cancer for at least 10 years after being diagnosed has trebled in the last 40 years.

Although this is a great achievement, the survival rate still remains low - with only around 1 in 10 patients likely to survive their disease for ten years. We hope to raise £60,000 - the amount of money that it would cost to support a research team working on a project like Professor Ferry's.

With work like that of Professor Ferry we believe we can turn these statistics around and help more people beat oesophageal cancer than ever before. With your help we can make this belief a reality.

Project update May 2014

Thanks to the everyone who has donated or fundraised for this project. Your amazing support has meant we hit our £60,000 target sooner than expected. We have now been able to extend the target to £70,000 to fund more of this trial.