TRACERx (Tracking Cancer Evolution through Therapy)

TRACERx  – has been launched by Cancer Research UK and will recruit 850 lung cancer patients from across the UK and take samples of their tumour before and following surgery and subsequently if the disease recurs.Biopsies will be taken from different parts of each patient's tumour and analysed with the latest technology to give a more comprehensive genetic profile. Different parts of a tumour can evolve independently, so a sample from one region alone might contain different genetic changes to another sample, elsewhere in the tumour. Patients will also have blood tests to examine DNA from the cancer that might be circulating in the bloodstream.


Researchers will then be able to compare genetic changes within and between patients, record how the treatment changes the genetic profile of their disease, and how this ultimately affects the patients' chances of survival.

The combination of these techniques will give an unprecedented insight into lung cancer and allow researchers to identify and understand the precise genetic makeup of lung cancers. The results will also lay the foundations for being able to offer patients treatment that is tailored to the specific genetic makeup of their cancer.


University College London Hospital NHS Foundation Trust will be leading the thoracic surgery for the research.

Professor Charles Swanton, lead researcher at the UCL Cancer Institute, said: "Success in treating lung cancer has been difficult to achieve but we're hoping to change that. The first step to improving cancer diagnosis and treatment is to understand more about the disease and how it changes over time.

"Research has led us to this point when, after decades of earlier work, we can look to the future with real optimism. We plan to harness new sequencing technologies to trace the genetic evolution of cancer over the course of the disease. Our research will help explain why lung cancer is difficult to treat, and steer a path towards saving more lives."


Professor Sam Janes, Lung Cancer Pathway Director at London Cancer said: "This is a huge commitment to lung cancer research from Cancer Research UK and it's great that Professor Charlie Swanton at UCL will be running this with London Cancer at the lead. Patients undergoing surgery at University College Hospital will have their cancer checked for mutated genes before and after any accompanying chemotherapy. Through this work we hope to be able to understand why some patients respond to chemotherapy and why some don't."


Other research centres taking part in the study are: Velindre Cancer Centre Cardiff, Birmingham University Hospital, Leicester Hospital, Cancer Research UK’s Paterson Institute for Cancer Research at The University of Manchester, The Christie Hospital in Manchester and University Hospital South Manchester and the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.

TRACERx - The Patient View

About two years ago, about two months before Terrence’s diagnosis, we announced plans for a pioneering study to transform how lung cancer – the world’s biggest cancer killer – is understood. Click here to read Terrence's story.

Read the last news on this innovative study
TRACERx Patient Newsletter Summer 2015.p[...]
Adobe Acrobat document [609.7 KB]
TRACERx summary for patients v1.0 22-12-[...]
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Tracking Genomic Cancer Evolution for Precision Medicine: The Lung TRACERx Study, PLoS Biol. 2014 Jul 8;12(7)
Authors include ICPV members Tom Haswell, Mairead MacKenzie and Maggie Wilcox
Adobe Acrobat document [700.8 KB]


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2017 Summer School

The 2017 ICPV Summer School was held over two days in June at Stirling University. The theme of the event was Cancer Survivorship and Living Well Cancer. Click below for details of the course. More details.

VOICE 2016

A snapsot video of the the 2016 course is now available on YouTube VOICE2016

eCancer Videos

At the BACR/ECMC conference in July Maggie Wilcox and Mairead Mackenzie were persuaded to speak to the camera. Maggie gave a background to ICPV and our aims and objectives. While Mairead focused on her specific interests and activities. To view follow the links below.

Maggie Wilcox

Mairead MacKenzie

July 2016 Conferences

ICPV members were busy this week with two conferences. The BACR/ECMC Joint Meeting on Therapeutic Interventions for Cancer Prevention was held in Bristol July18-19. The UK Breast Cancer Research Symposium was held in London from July 22-23. Click here for more information.

UK Therapeutic Cancer Prevention Network (UKTCPN)

An update from this new group was presented to the ECMC Annual Network Meeting in May 2016. Click here to download and read. 


Call for immediate change to European Paediatric Medicine Regulation to save more lives of children and teens with cancer.
A few basic changes to European Law could speed up access to newer, kinder and potentially better drugs for more children and teenagers with cancer. Click to Sign the petition 


Two years on from the start pioneering TRACERx lung cancer study. Click here For the latest news and patient views on this study. 

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