A study to understand more about how the immune system works in lung disease (TargetLung)

Cancer type:

Lung cancer
Non small cell lung cancer
Small cell lung cancer





This is a study to get a better understanding of how the immune system works when people have lung cancer and other lung diseases.

More about this trial

We know that many diseases including cancer can be affected by how the immune system works. There are now treatments that target the immune system (immunotherapy). Doctors may use these treatments on their own, or alongside other existing treatments.

But so far, only a small number of people benefit from immunotherapy. This is because doctors still don’t fully understand how this type of treatment works. And how to choose the right treatment for the right person.

Researchers want to improve their knowledge of how the immune system works in lung diseases. In this study, they want to test samples from people with different types of lung disease including lung cancer and a condition where the lungs have become less stretchy (lung fibrosis). They will also look at samples from people who have healthy lungs.

The information from this study will help them to understand the immune system in relation to lung cancer and other lung conditions. They hope that the results will guide them to developing better treatments for lung cancer and lung fibrosis.

Who can enter

You may be able to join this study if you are over 18 and in one of the following situations.

  • You have lung cancer or you have symptoms that could be caused by lung cancer and are going to have a bronchoscopy or endobronchial ultrasound to look inside your airways, or a biopsy through the skin, or surgery to remove your lung or to get a sample of tissue
  • You have areas of abnormal tissue in your lungs (called lung nodules) and are willing to have a bronchoscopy
  • You are going to have a bronchoscopy or surgery to your chest (thoracic surgery) because you have other lung problems such as fibrosis, or you are going to have one of these procedures even though your lungs are healthy

Trial design

When you have a bronchoscopy or chest surgery, the surgical team can take samples of tissue from your lungs or lymph nodes Open a glossary item. They may also take samples of sputum and some fluid (washings) from your airways. If you agree to take part in this study, they will take some extra samples for research. The researchers will also ask you to have an extra blood test.

Sometimes during surgery, the surgeon removes a piece of bone or cut it. This is to make it easier for the surgeon to get to where they need to operate. If this is the case, the study team would also like to take a sample of the spongy substance in the centre of the bone (the bone marrow Open a glossary item).

If you have surgery to remove part of your lung, the study team would like to take a sample of blood from:

  • the vein that supplies that part of your lung
  • the vein that supplies the part of lung next to it

They will then compare these 2 samples.

If you are diagnosed with lung cancer, or with another lung condition, your treatment will not be affected by taking part in this study. The study team may ask you to have more bronchoscopies later on. This may be:

  • after you have finished one type of treatment or
  • if your treatment stops working, or
  • if your condition gets better for a while and then starts to get worse

This could mean that they ask you to have more than one extra bronchoscopy. They will take samples of sputum, fluid or tissue each time.

If you have lung cancer or lung fibrosis, the study team may also ask for extra blood samples after:

  • 3 months,
  • 6 months
  • 1 year

If possible, they will take these when you have other blood tests as part of your care. They will use these samples to look for markers that show how your immune system is working.

Hospital visits

If you have lung cancer or lung fibrosis and you take part in this study, you may have more bronchoscopies than you would have if you weren’t taking part. This could mean extra visits to the hospital.

Side effects

Having a bronchoscopy or a biopsy can cause pain, bleeding and infection. There is also a small risk of your lung collapsing. Your clinical team will explain what will happen and provide details about any possible risks before you agree to have any tests or surgical procedures.

Having blood tests can be uncomfortable and occasionally cause bruising where the needle is put into your vein.



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 Anastasios Lekkas
Professor Christian Ottensmeier

Supported by

Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer
University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust

If you have questions about the trial please contact our cancer information nurses

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.

Charlie took part in a trial to try new treatments

A picture of Charlie

“I think it’s really important that people keep signing up to these type of trials to push research forward.”

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