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Joint Velindre and Cardiff University head and neck cancer trial passes incredible 1000 patient recruitment milestone!

6 September 2023

PATHOS, a Velindre University NHS Trust and Cardiff University co-sponsored clinical trial, is a Phase III, international trial aiming to develop a kinder treatment for patients with head and neck cancer.

It is looking at the role of less intensive treatment after minimally invasive surgery for people whose cancers have tested positive for Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). The 1000th patient was recruited in the last week of August 2023 at the Liverpool Head and Neck Centre.

Professor Mererid Evans, Consultant Oncologist, Cardiff University and Velindre University NHS Trust said:

“I am honoured to lead PATHOS, along with Professor Terry Jones from Liverpool University. Recruiting the 1000th patient to PATHOS is beyond all our expectations and is a tribute to all the hard work done by research teams at sites across the UK, as well as in France, Germany, Australia and the USA.

“We believe that by the time PATHOS completes recruitment next year, it will be the largest clinical trial ever conducted in patients with head and neck cancer, and the results could improve treatment for patients with HPV-associated head and neck cancer around the world.

“I am extremely grateful for the incredible support the trial has received from my colleagues here at Velindre, including Dr Richard Webster, Dr Nachi Palaniappan, Dr Emma Higgins, Owain Woodley and Jack Pritchard from the Radiotherapy Trials Quality Assurance team, and Claire Donnithorne from pharmacy.

“I am also incredibly thankful to the Velindre R&D team led by Sarah Townsend, and to Cardiff University colleagues, for all their support as trial Sponsors. Diolch yn fawr iawn!”

A schema of the trial.

HPV-associated head and neck cancer, typically involving the tonsils and tongue base, have become increasingly common over the last two decades. Patients are often cured of their disease but have to live with the side-effects of their treatment, particularly swallowing problems, which can be permanent and have a major impact on their quality of life.

PATHOS is aiming to find out whether this group of patients could have less intensive treatment and, as a result, experience fewer side-effects. We expect the results of the study to be reported by 2027.

“This is a fantastic achievement! I’m really proud to be involved in sponsoring the PATHOS study and I’m delighted that this important study is accessible to so many patients. It’s studies like PATHOS that bring real hope on the horizon for improving outcomes for patients, in this case not just in the UK, but also internationally,” added Sarah Townsend, Head of Research & Development and Trust Sponsor Representative, Velindre University NHS Trust.

Logos for sponsors of the trial.

PATHOS is funded by the Cancer Research UK (CRUK) Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) campaign and the Advancing Radiotherapy Fund (ARF).

The trial is run through the Centre for Clinical Trials Research at Cardiff University.

Professor Terry Jones from Liverpool University is co-Chief Investigator alongside Professor Mererid Evans from Velindre University NHS Trust.

The trial is co-sponsored by Velindre University NHS Trust and Cardiff University.

Velindre University NHS Trust, Unit 2,Charnwood Court, Parc Nantgarw, Nantgarw, Cardiff, CF15 7QZ
Tel: 029 2019 6161