A study of genetic characteristics and suitability for targeted cancer treatment (TARGET)

Please note - this trial is no longer recruiting patients. We hope to add results when they are available.

Cancer type:

All cancer types
Secondary cancers




This study is looking at gene changes in advanced solid cancers and how genetic information can help doctors decide the most suitable phase 1 trial for people to take part in.
A solid tumour is any type of cancer apart from those of the blood system or lymphatic system such as leukaemia or lymphoma

More about this trial

Nearly every cell in the body contains DNA. This is your unique genetic code.
In cancer cells the DNA is damaged (faulty). This allows cancer cells to grow out of control.
Experimental cancer treatments aim to target particular genetic changes (mutations) in cancer cells. This may help to reduce damage to normal cells and so aims to reduce side effects.
This study aims to find out:
  • about DNA changes in blood and tissue samples of advanced solid tumours
  • how cancer cells grow
  • how different targeted treatments might work
  • why treatments work in some people and not in others

Who can enter

The following bullet points list the entry conditions for this study. Talk to your doctor or the study team if you are unsure about any of these. They will be able to advise you.
Who can take part
You may be able to join this study if all of the following apply. You
  • have an advanced solid tumour. A solid tumour is any type of cancer apart from a cancer of the blood system or lymphatic system such as leukaemia or lymphoma
  • have been referred for a phase 1 trial at the Christie hospital in Manchester
  • are fit enough to have an experimental cancer drug
  • are able to have a biopsy
  • are willing for doctors to use an old tissue sample if a biopsy is not possible 
  • are aged 18 or over
Who can’t take part
You cannot join this study if any of these apply. You
  • have HIV, Hepatitis B or Hepatitis C
  • are not eligible to join a phase 1 clinical trial
  • have a physical or mental health problem that the trial team think will   affect your taking part in the trial
  • have blood clotting problems that are not controlled with medications
  • have any other conditions that prevent blood samples and biopsies being taken

Trial design

This study is in 2 parts. 

Part 1
The first part of the study was a feasibility study to check the trial was possible. Part 1 has successfully completed.

People who participated in part 1 might still be able to take part in part 2.

Part 2
The second part of this study will recruit more than 400 patients. This part of the study is running for 3 years. 

The aim of this part of the study is to match each patient to a phase 1 trial, based on the alterations in their DNA.

Hospital visits

You will see the study team and have some tests before you start treatment.
This will include:
  • taking your medical history
  • blood tests 
You might be asked to give another tissue sample (biopsy) or a urine or hair follicle sample.
During treatment 
If you do join a phase 1 clinical trial, you may be asked to provide extra blood samples.
This might be a total of 15 extra blood samples throughout this study. Your doctor will try to take these extra samples at the same time as you have blood tests that you need as part of your treatment. They might  ask you to give a urine or hair follicle sample. 
The team might also ask you if they can take extra samples when you have any tests that you need during the study. These samples might include:
  • a tissue sample (biopsy)
  • a sample of fluid drained from the lungs (pleural effusion)
  • a sample of fluid drained from the abdomen (ascitic fluid) 
Follow up 
The trial team will monitor your progress by looking at your medical records as regularly as necessary. They will continue to follow you for a maximum of 5 years. 

Side effects

Genetic testing might also show information about:
  • your risk of other medical conditions not related to your cancer
  • increased risk of cancer and other medical conditions for your biological family
You can decide if you do or don’t want to know this information before joining the study. 

Recruitment start:

Recruitment end:

How to join a clinical trial

Please note: In order to join a trial you will need to discuss it with your doctor, unless otherwise specified.

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Chief Investigator

Dr Matthew Krebs

Supported by

Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute
Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)
Manchester Centre for Genomic Medicine
Manchester Cancer Research Centre (MCRC)
The Christie NHS Foundation trust

Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:


Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Cara took part in a clinical trial

A picture of Cara

"I am glad that taking part in a trial might help others on their own cancer journey.”

Last reviewed:

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