Experimental cancer treatments for advanced stages are more effective than previously thought. Some oncology practitioners believe that experimental drugs are harmful - they give false hope to patients because of its low efficiency (long anticipated effectiveness of the experimental treatment with special drugs produced in Canadian pharmacy only at the level of 4-6% of cases). Patients in the final stage of the disease should have greater access to information about the experimental treatment programs, and, accordingly, they and their families should have the right to know what their real chances, with a particular treatment strategy. Scientists believe that the involvement of cancer patients even in the early stages of clinical trials can be very useful for them. Besides, the search for a way out of the situation means continuing the fight against the disease. It is characterized by academic phrase "treatment of metastatic cancer still remains palliative, with a very low probability of complete remission and cure the disease."

The University of Nottingham

Objectives: Recruit patients with Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) into the clinical trial. Facilitate establishment of trial network. Establish MCC biobank, historic and prospective with linked clinical data.

Expertise relevant to the proposed work: The University of Nottingham (UoN) has an international reputation for research reflected in its rankings in International League tables, being ranked in the top 10 universities in the UK, top 30 Universities in Europe, and in the Top 100 universities globally. The UoN has attracted more than £28M for cancer research in the last 5 years. Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust (NUH) is the UK’s fourth largest acute teaching trust. It provides acute and specialist services to 2.5 million people within Nottingham and the surrounding region. NUH has an annual budget of £722M of public sector funding and employs over 13,000 staff. The NUH Trust currently has approximately 1,750 beds. UoN has a large biobank of tumor samples with ethical approval for research use. It hosts the Nottingham Cancer Centre which has over 9000 referrals for suspected cancer ever year and has a peer reviewed multi-disciplinary team providing comprehensive cancer care for patients with skin cancer including MCC. UoN has cancer research expertise in tumor immunology, drug development, molecular pathology, functional imaging, and state of the art preclinical in vivo cancer modeling. The Oncology Unit led by Prof. Poulam Patel leads the 34 person strong clinical trials research team which has over 70 cancer trials open across a range of tumor sites. Prof. Patel is currently chairman of the EORTC melanoma group, one of the world largest melanoma clinical trials networks, consisting of dermatologists, surgeons, medical and radiation oncologists, pathologists and scientists from across Europe. This is an ideal network to facilitate trials in rare skin cancers. Prof. Patel is associate director of the UK National Cancer Research Network (NCRN), the UK organization responsible for coordinating cancer clinical trials across the UK. Dr Pat Lawton is a consultant clinical oncologist (radiation oncology) with a special interest in skin cancers. She is on the UK NCRN skin cancer (rare cancer) subgroup and has a special interest in Merkel cell carcinoma.

Specific role in the project: UoN will participate in the clinical trial in MCC patients (WP1). UoN will facilitate the establishment of a trials network, and establish a MCC biobank (historic and prospective) with linked clinical data (WP2).


The University of Nottingham left the consortium on 31th December 2014.

The University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD
United Kingdom