Researchers at The Royal Marsden and The Institute of Cancer Research continue to break new ground

18 March 2022

Experts at The Royal Marsden and The Institute of Cancer Research, with support from the NIHR BRC at The Royal Marsden and ICR, are leading on pioneering cancer research, with their work being published in high-profile journals.

Dr Fernando Carcellar
Pictured: Dr Fernando Carceller

Combining drugs to tackle DIPG

"These drugs are a potential treatment for children with incurable brain cancer."

In a study published in Cancer Discovery, researchers – including Dr Fernando Carceller and Dr Lynley Marshall, Consultants in Paediatric and Adolescent Neuro-oncology in the Oak Paediatric and Adolescent Drug Development Unit, and Professor Chris Jones, Professor of Paediatric Brain Tumour Biology at The Institute of Cancer Research – identified a potential new drug combination for children with incurable brain cancer.

They found that using the leukaemia drug dasatinib alongside the melanoma treatment trametinib slowed the growth of cancer cells taken from patients with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG), the most deadly paediatric brain tumour, who had a particular genetic mutation. The team is working to take this combination forward in an international trial.

The study was funded by a range of cancer charities, including Christopher’s SmileAbbie’s ArmyIslastones Foundationthe CRIS Cancer FoundationCancer Research UKChildren with Cancer UK, and the Ollie Young Foundation.

Discover more about the study on the ICR website.

Identifying Omicron resistance

Nearly half of blood cancer patients do not have detectable levels of antibodies that can neutralise the Omicron SARS-CoV-2 variant after a third vaccine dose, according to new data from The Royal Marsden and the Francis Crick Institute published in The Lancet.

As part of the ongoing CAPTURE study, funded by The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity, researchers have been monitoring the immune responses of hundreds of patients with different types of cancer after one, two and three doses of COVID-19 vaccine. This was the first report of immunity against Omicron in cancer patients, and highlights the importance of a fourth booster dose for patients with blood cancers.

Five-drug cocktail extends life

A combination of five existing drugs can keep disease at bay for longer in patients with a highly aggressive type of bone marrow cancer, according to data presented at the American Society of Hematology conference in December.

The MUK Nine b: OPTIMUM trial, led at The Royal Marsden and the ICR, researched if the drugs, along with a stem cell transplant, allowed patients with ultra-high risk multiple myeloma to live longer before their disease progressed than those who received the standard of care.

Discover more about the trial.

Our Research

Discover how the BRC funds and supports research happening at The Royal Marsden and The Institute of Cancer Research.