Can genomics predict dysphagia after head and neck radiotherapy?

Radiotherapy is an essential treatment approach in head and neck cancer. Many patients are offered radiotherapy or chemoradiotherapy following successful surgical tumour resection, but there are many complications associated with this treatment, and there is little evidence to determine if adding radiotherapy in this situation will give any survival benefit. This study will compare the genetic profile of patients with and without severe swallowing difficulties following radiotherapy and try to identify genetic factors associated with a higher risk of developing severe complications.

Read more on the NFORC site …

National Head and Neck Cancer Audit (HANA)

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Saving Faces are working closely with Dendrite Clinical Systems Ltd. to deliver the National Head and Neck Cancer Audit (HANA). HANA aims to assess the process of care and its outcomes in patients diagnosed with new primary or recurrent head and neck cancer in England and Wales and to improve the quality of services and the outcomes achieved for patients. Visit our HANA website for more information.

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PhD Studentships

The areas of research are:

  • Living with and beyond Head and Neck Cancer: Psychosocial Factors Associated with Impact of Cancer and Quality of Life
    There are very few studies on the psychosocial determinants on long-term quality of life and the needs of survivors and their families. This study will examine the psychological well-being and the quality of life of head and neck cancer survivors, as well as the positive and negative outcomes associated with head and neck cancer. The ultimate aim of this work is to improve quality of life in head and neck cancer survivors and their families.
  • Optimisation of a quantitative malignancy index diagnostic system for oral cancer detection and tumour margin assessment.
    This study aims to develop a sensitive, reliable and fast cancer diagnostic test for mouth cancer by using a new gene quantification method which can detect the presence of cancer cells by measuring the levels of cancer-causing genes in tissue biopsy samples. Mouth cancer affects over 5,500 people every year in the UK and has higher death rates than cancers of the colon, breast, vulva or melanoma. The number of mouth cancer cases has increased significantly (>20%) over the last decade especially in younger adults for both sexes. Despite improvements in chemotherapy and surgical techniques, ~50% of mouth cancer patients still die from the disease partly due to incomplete removal of cancer cells during surgical treatment. A reliable diagnostic test would enable clinicians to give appropriate tailored treatment which will make a real difference to patients. 
  • Changes in keratin expression in HPV16-immortalised keratinocytes
    Human papillomavirus type 16 (HPV16) is increasingly recognised as a cause of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC); a type of cancer characterised by high incidence and high mortality. The aim of the study is to provide the basis for a novel biomarker by investigating the effect of HPV16 upon keratinocytes, the natural host for HPV16 infection. The study mostly focuses on two aspects: keratin expression and transcription factors regulating keratinocyte differentiation.

From the above you will see that we are supporting important areas of research into facial cancer, all of which have an undoubted clinical impact;

  • Basic scientific research at the molecular level
  • Research into the psychological effects of living with the consequences of these conditions and the development of tailored support programmes.
  • The development of diagnostic tests and targeted treatment strategies

Click here to read all our Saving Faces-funded PhD student profiles and their progress reports.

The role of selective neck dissection in early oral cancer treatment (SEND) trial

UPDATE 27/07/15: This trial is now closed to recruitment. We will be publishing the results in the near future. Please check back soon or contact us for more information

Saving Faces researchers are working on a Cancer Research UK funded study which is the first large scale surgical clinical trial in the United Kingdom for patients with oral cancer. The trial will involve over 600 patients nationwide and aims to answer important questions in the treatment of patients with oral cancer that will benefit both patients and the NHS.  

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