The University of Manchester, Cancer Research UK, and Roche Products have announced the start of a multi-drug, precision medicine trial for rare cancer patients.

The DETERMINE platform trial aims to explore whether currently licensed drugs for common cancer types could also benefit patients with rare cancer types, outside the originally approved indications.

It will recruit paediatric and adult patients who are living with any rare cancer types.

The trial’s design will allow any drug that appears to be working for the trial participants to be submitted for the Cancer Drug Fund (CDF) review.

The CDF will then decide whether to evaluate it as a routine treatment option on the NHS for patients with that cancer type.

The University of Manchester and The Christie NHS Foundation Trust DETERMINE trial chief investigator Dr Matthew Krebs said: “Patients with rare cancer often have few treatment options available and it’s vitally important we increase our research efforts for these patients.

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“With technological advances in genetic testing, we’ve learned that some rare tumours contain genetic abnormalities which may benefit from targeted treatment currently only available for more common cancer types.

“We will undertake in-depth research to understand which patients with rare cancers could benefit from these treatments.”

The University of Manchester is leading the trial, which is sponsored and managed by Cancer Research UK’s Centre for Drug Development.

Roche is providing seven targeted drugs to be assessed in the first instance of the trial.

As the trial advances, other pharmaceutical partners will be encouraged to contribute their drugs.

The Christie NHS Foundation Trust is the first trial site to open.

The University of Birmingham, the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, The University of Glasgow, and the Experimental Cancer Medicines Centres (ECMC) network sites will open additional sites.