Welsh unit conducts world's biggest lung cancer trial

The largest lung cancer trial in the world is being led by doctors in Wales.

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Doctors in Cardiff are leading the world's biggest lung cancer drugs trial with the aim of revolutionising the way the disease is treated.

The six-month trial based at the Welsh Cancer Trials Unit (WCTU) at the University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff, will involve 156 hospitals and 2,200 patients from around the UK.

Medics will see if a common blood thinning drug, Fragmin, can prevent lung cancer spreading by preventing blood clots.

People with lung cancer are at increased risk of clots because of chemotherapy, surgery, inactivity or the illness itself.

They can be dangerous, sometimes fatal, if they dislodge and travel to the lungs or heart.

It is thought the blood-thinning drug may affect how cancer cells spread through the blood stream and the trial leaders are hoping to find out if this is true.

WCTU scientific director Gareth Griffiths said: "Some of the key benefits of this drug that it's very cheap and can be self-administered by the patient or their carer at home.

"If we can give an intervention that can get in to the blood supply, that kills that cancer cell, it will prevent that cancer from starting to grow elsewhere."

The hope is that conventional treatments can then be used on the main cancer site, knowing that its spread was being prevented, he said.

He added: "Although not a cure, we hope this research will help improve and potentially extend the lives of lung cancer patients."

Keith Warmer, 70, from Cardiff, who has lung cancer which has spread to his hips and ribs, is injecting himself every day as part of the trial.

He said: "Being a lung cancer patient, you are liable to have clots. But I think I've got enough to worry about without blood clots."

The results of the study which is being funded by Cancer Research UK are expected next year.

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