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Cancer Research UK includes Novartis for rare cancer trials

Following its launch last month, Cancer Research UK’s DETERMINE trial welcomes onboard Novartis, the second major pharmaceutical partner to join the multi-drug, precision medicine trial for rare cancers.

The trial, which opened to paediatric and adult patients with any rare cancer type, was set up by Cancer Research UK’s Centre for Drug Development, the University of Manchester and Roche Products Ltd. Novartis joins Roche in providing access to oncology treatments through the trial, with the Centre for Drug Development sponsoring and managing the trial, and the University of Manchester leading it.  

The DETERMINE trial aims to find out whether existing drugs, including those which are licensed for more common types of cancer, could also benefit patients with rare cancer types that the drug isn’t currently licensed for. Patients eligible for the trial will have undergone genetic screening and found that they have one of the particular genetic mutations in their cancer that can be targeted by a drug on the trial.  

Its unique design means that any treatment which appears to be working for patients on the trial will be submitted for review by the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF).The intention is that the CDF team, working with NHS England Clinical Policy team, will then decide whether a period of data collection in the CDF is appropriate to assess if the drug could be used as a routine treatment option on the NHS for patients with this cancer type.  

Dr Nigel Blackburn, Director of Drug Development at Cancer Research UK’s Centre for Drug Development said: “We are incredibly proud to bring on another renowned multinational pharmaceutical partner so soon after the trial’s launch. With another collaborator on board, we can open the trial to even more patients with rare cancers who have been traditionally underserved.” 

“But this momentum needs to continue in order to benefit as many patients as possible and we implore any companies who think that their drugs could be used on the trial to reach out to us.” 

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