Our Thoracic Oncology research programme is closely linked to our clinical investigation programme.  If you have been referred to us for investigations one of our research nurses may ask you if you would be prepared to help us with our research either during the investigation stage or during treatment – our records show that up to 40-50% of the patients we see each year with lung cancer participate in one of our studies at some point during their time with us.  

Our research focuses on two main areas - lung cancer and malignant mesothelioma.


Early detection of lung cancer

We are currently running a portfolio of studies looking at new and better ways of identifying lung cancer at an early stage when more can be done to treat and cure it.  Some of these studies may involve collecting a blood sample or a breath sample or performing a special scan during your visit.  We work closely with a number of academic and biotechnology research groups both nationally and internationally on several collaborative studies.  


Lung cancer new treatment studies

We work closely with the oncologists at Cambridge University Hospitals (Addenbrooke’s) who are participating in a number of clinical trials looking at new ways of treating advanced lung cancer using chemotherapy, radiotherapy or new agents.  


Malignant mesothelioma

Royal Papworth Hospital has a long track record of research into better ways of treating malignant mesothelioma.  In 2012 we set up MesobanK, which has become the national bioresource for malignant mesothelioma tissue. In collaboration with many other hospitals in the UK we collect samples of blood and tissue from patients with suspected or confirmed mesothelioma. These samples are then fully anonymised and made available to research groups around the world to try to find better ways to treating this disease.  

We also run and participate in various clinical trials examining new ways of treating mesothelioma. These may involve either new surgical operations or drug treatments.  

Over the years the Thoracic Oncology team at Royal Papworth has been involved with the publication of many studies looking at new ways of treating cancer. Some of these studies, such as the ASTER study looking at new ways of investigating lung cancer and the MesoVATS study examining new treatments for mesothelioma, have resulted in changes to clinical practice nationally and internationally.  

Our research is supported by Cancer Research UK, the British Lung Foundation and the National Institute for Health Research.  

If you would like to know more about our research or find out whether you might be suitable for one of our research studies, please ask a member of the team looking after you.