New clinical trial offers treatment hope for advanced pancreatic cancer patients in the West Midlands

Dr Martin Scott-Brown - HALO Trial at UHCWPancreatic Cancer UK is encouraging people with advanced pancreatic cancer in the West Midlands to find out more about an exciting clinical trial at University Hospital in Coventry, offering a new combination of treatments which could ultimately allow patients to live for longer.

The new HALO 301 trial could offer patients with pancreatic cancer that has spread outside the pancreas a potential new treatment option, for a disease which currently has very few treatments.

The clinical trial at University Hospital, Coventry, will aim to allow people with advanced pancreatic cancer with high levels of a substance called hyaluronan (HA), a group which makes up about 40 per cent of patients, to live for longer. HA helps the pancreatic cancer tumour to grow. The patients on the trial who are randomly allocated will be treated with two existing chemotherapies, nab-paclitaxel (Abraxane®) and gemcitabine (Gemzar®), in combination with a new treatment called PEGPH20. This is an enzyme which breaks down HA. The hope is that this new combination treatment will slow tumour growth, ultimately allowing patients to live for longer.

The earlier HALO 202 trial in America has already shown real promise. Results published in January showed that the combination of treatments significantly delayed tumour growth and disease progression in advanced patients with high levels of HA (1).

The HALO 301 trial is an international trial that’s taking place in multiple locations across the UK, Dr Martin Scott-Brown is leading the trial in the West Midlands.

Dr Scott-Brown, Consultant Clinical Oncologist at UHCW NHS Trust, said: “I’m delighted to be leading this innovative new trial in a disease area which has historically been neglected in terms of research and investment and joining Pancreatic Cancer UK in spreading the word about it to patients in the West Midlands. We hope it leads to not only a much-needed new treatment option for eligible patients with advanced disease, but also ultimately helps to improve survival rates and quality of life for many patients across the UK in the future.”

Anna Jewell, Director of Operations at Pancreatic Cancer UK, said: “Clinical trials for pancreatic cancer are always exciting, as new treatment options are urgently needed to allow patients to spend more precious time with their families, and this one shows real promise. We are encouraging patients with advanced pancreatic cancer in the West Midlands to find out whether the HALO trial might be an option for them from their consultant, or by calling one of our nurses on our Support Line.

“Patients and families can find out more about this and other clinical trials which may be available in the West Midlands area by looking at our online Trial Finder. They can also talk to our nurses to find out more about taking part in a trial and whether it would be right for them. We are absolutely determined to take on this tough cancer by ensuring that patients have access to new, effective treatments on the NHS to allow them to live longer and have a better quality of life.”

There are 820 patients diagnosed with pancreatic cancer each year in the West Midlands area (2).

Patients and families can find out more about the HALO trial at and people can call Pancreatic Cancer UK’s specialist nurses for more information on the charity’s Support Line, on freephone 0808 801 0707.