Funds raised by cancer research charity Hope Against Cancer have contributed to a new breakthrough study which suggests that changing the time a patient receives radiotherapy treatment for breast cancer can reduce its overall toxicity and the chances of side-effects.
The study, led by the University of Leicester, was carried out at Hope Against Cancer’s clinical research facility in Leicester, with funding also coming from Breast Cancer Now and the European Union Seventh Framework Programme.
It found that differences in a patient’s genes could result in radiotherapy having more or less risk of side-effects at certain times of the day. These side-effects can include chronic pain or peeling of the skin.
According to the research, the risk of developing these side-effects is greater in patients receiving radiotherapy in the morning hours as this is often when the body’s cells divide, which makes them more susceptible to damage from X-rays.
Around 30,000 people undergo radiotherapy treatment for breast cancer each year. Hope Against Cancer, which supports clinical trials and funds vital research at the Leicester Cancer Research Centre, believes that this new research can be the starting point for personalised treatment for breast cancer and allow maximum effectiveness while reducing the side-effects.
Chief Executive Nigel Rose said: “This research is vital for developing personalised breast cancer treatment and I’m proud that Hope Against Cancer is playing such a key role, both through funding and demonstrating its importance at our clinical trials facility. We’ve always been committed to funding research to help find the latest in cancer treatment here at Hope Against Cancer and using this knowledge for the benefit of those living with cancer both now and in the future.”
Since 2012, Hope Against Cancer’s Clinical Trials Facility has enabled cancer patients to be part of important research projects such as this one. The charity needs to raise hundreds of thousands of pounds every year to support trials and further research projects.
Nigel added: “It’s always a proud moment for the Hope Against Cancer team when we see how much of a difference our fundraising makes to people in the area. We wouldn’t be able to carry out our research without the hard work of our team and fundraisers, so being involved in this research is really significant for us all.”
Further trials will be required to corroborate the findings from this research, however Hope Against Cancer is hopeful that a personalised radiotherapy treatment for cancer may be possible.
Additional information about Hope Against Cancer’s clinical trials facility is available here.