The Centre performed the first clinical studies demonstrating the anti-cancer activity of a new group of drugs that target the blood supply to cancers – known as vascular disruptive agents. It is now combining these drugs with other cancer treatments to maximize their effect. The Centre’s work with the Paul Strickland Scanner Centre, also based at Mount Vernon, has established them as world leaders in the use of sophisticated imaging techniques that show the effect of drugs attacking the blood supply of cancers.
The Centre has also developed blood tests that can be used to monitor patients’ response to treatment for ovarian cancer and its guidelines for their use are now accepted internationally. It is now examining whether similar blood tests can be used in dealing with the skin cancer – malignant melanoma.
Progress on curing cancer
Despite the fact that more people are being diagnosed with cancer (because people are living longer and cancer rates increase with age), considerable progress is being made across the UK. In the ten years from 1994-2003, death rates fell by 13.4% for men and 9.8% for women. Improved five-year survival rates include 98% for testicular cancer; 91% for malignant melanoma in women and 78% in men; more than 77% for cancer of the uterus; and around 50% for bowel cancer.
Breast cancer survival rates have been improved by 17-20% over the last ten years. Almost two-thirds of all women diagnosed (in England and Wales) are now likely to survive for at least 20 years; and for older women (50-69) the figure rises to 72%.
But there remains a great deal to be done to further improve survival rates and particularly on some cancers which have proved difficult to treat. Find out more about Mount Vernon Cancer Centre’s latest research work here.