Understanding and improving drug resistance in lung cancer patients
About Michael Seckl
World-class scientist Professor Michael Seckl works at the Hammersmith and Charing Cross Hospitals, part of Imperial College London. He is leading a clinical trial called LungStar, for people with small cell lung cancer (SCLC). He is also investigating how some lung cancers become resistant to chemotherapy. Professor Seckl co-ordinates lab studies into the disease and uses his findings to improve treatments for patients.
Lung cancer is the most common cancer in the world and it is difficult to treat. People with SCLC often receive chemotherapy treatment but for many patients their cancer develops resistance and starts to grow again. So there is an urgent need to find more effective treatments.
The Lungstar trial
The LungStar trial will discover whether adding a drug called pravastatin to chemotherapy is beneficial for people with SCLC. Pravastatin belongs to a group of drugs called statins, which are well-known cholesterol-lowering drugs.
Through ground-breaking research in the lab, Professor Seckl discovered that statins can cause lung cancer cells to die and may help to improve the effectiveness of chemotherapy. The trial is currently recruiting up to 1,300 people with SCLC from around the UK. If the results show that the new approach provides greater benefits, it could eventually be adopted as the new 'gold standard' treatment for people with this type of lung cancer.
Tackling resistance to chemotherapy
In the lab Professor Seckl is investigating two proteins called FGF-2 and S6K2, which help to make lung cancer cells resistant to chemotherapy. Scientists think that targeting these proteins may be an effective way to make cancer cells sensitive to treatment again. The results of Dr Seckl's work will help pave the way for more effective lung cancer treatments in the future.
Professor Seckl is a member of the prestigious Associations of Physicians and a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians.
Other research projects by Michael Seckl
CRUK/06/009: LungStar - A multicentre phase III randomised double blind placebo controlled trial of pravastatin added to first-line standard chemotherapy in patients with small cell lung cancer (SCLC)
Funding period: 01 January 2011 to 30 June 2014
CRUKD/11/004: RADICAL a First in Man Phase I/IIa study of AZD4547, an FGFR inhibitor, in combination with a non-steroidal aromatase inhibitor (anastrozole or letrozole) in ER+ advanced breast cancer patients
Funding period: 01 May 2011 to 30 November 2015