Major international lung cancer clinical trial launched

10 November 2014

Kingston, Ontario -

The NCIC Clinical Trials Group (NCIC CTG) in Kingston, Ontario, has developed and will lead an international clinical trial of a new class of cancer drug aimed at curing lung cancer in patients who have had surgery and chemotherapy for disease confined to the lung. The NCIC CTG is funded by the Canadian Cancer Society.

The trial will impact lung cancer patients following standard treatment. Lung cancer is the second most common cancer in North America and is the leading cancer killer in both men and women.

Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) accounts for 80-85% of all lung cancer cases.

The new drug is one of a new class of pharmaceuticals that helps the body’s immune system recognize and attack cancer. Drugs in this class have already been approved for use in patients with malignant melanoma.

“This trial will test a new drug from an emerging class of agents that doesn’t directly kill cancer cells but instead improves our own immune system’s ability  to fight and kill the cancer cells,” says trial leader Glen Goss. “We are moving these drugs into the earliest stage of lung cancer treatment and meeting a major unmet need.”

“Lung cancer takes the lives of 2 million people around the world every year, “says Dr Christine Williams, Vice-President of Research and Policy, Canadian Cancer Society. “This new drug builds on decades of research into how the immune system can be harnessed to fight cancer, and it has tremendous potential to save lives. We are thrilled that Canada is leading this international trial and the Canadian Cancer Society is proud to be able to support it.” 

The trial is being conducted internationally, with collaboration from the Intergroupe Francophone de Cancerologie Thoracique (France), the National Cancer Institute (US), Naples (Italy),   the Australasian Lung Cancer Trials Group &  National Health and Medical Research Council Clinical Trials Centre (Australia), the Spanish Lung Cancer Group, the Dutch Society for Pulmonology and Tuberculosis (NVALT), the Central and East European Oncology Group, the Korean Cancer Study Group and the National Cancer Centre Singapore.

“This is the biggest research announcement in the history of Queen’s,” says Principal Daniel Woolf. “It is very exciting, not only to know that this potentially life-saving research is happening right here in our midst, but also because it is allowing us to collaborate and build important relationships with researchers all over the world.”

“This trial is being completed internationally and includes academic physicians around the world,” says NCIC CTG director Janet Dancey. “This is the first trial in the world to test this new drug in the setting of early lung cancer treatment.”

The trial will be open to 1,100 patients in Canada and around the world. Patients wishing to join the trial should speak to their oncologists about their treatment options. Approximately 25 institutions from across Canada will participate. Information about participation will also be available on clinicaltrials.gov and cancerview.ca

About the NCIC Clinical Trials Group (CTG)

The NCIC CTG is the only Canadian cooperative cancer trials group conducting the entire range of cancer trials from early phase studies to large international randomized controlled trials across all cancer types. Its primary mission is to assess the effectiveness of interventions to prevent the development of cancer or improve the care of those patients who do develop cancer. NCIC CTG trials have led to improved outcomes for cancer patients. It is a national research program of the Canadian Cancer Society. The NCIC CTG's Central Operations and Statistics Office is located at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada.

About the Canadian Cancer Society

The Canadian Cancer Society is a national, community-based organization of volunteers whose mission is to eradicate cancer and enhance the quality of life of people living with cancer. Thanks to our donors and volunteers, the Society has the most impact, against the most cancers, in the most communities in Canada. Building on our progress, we are working with Canadians to change cancer forever. For more information, visit cancer.ca or call our toll-free bilingual Cancer Information Service at 1-888-939-3333 (TTY 1-866-786-3934).

About Queen’s University

For over 170 years, Queen’s University has been a leader in higher education, as well as in shaping Canada’s future. Queen’s ranks amongst the top 10 research-intensive universities in Canada, and does so as a mid-sized residential university, with a strong sense of community and purpose. At the core of its success is the Queen’s commitment to research excellence, and an inextricable link that binds teaching and research with the common fundamental thread of learning.

For more information, please contact:

Rosie Hales

Communications Specialist

Canadian Cancer Society

National office

Phone: 416 934-5338