POPPY trial opens to recruitment
28 October 2019
A study investigating the treatment of advanced head and neck cancer, run by the CR UK & UCL Cancer Trials Centre, has opened to recruitment at UCLH. 

POPPY is a phase II trial which gives an immunotherapy drug to patients with advanced head and neck cancer who have a WHO performance status of 2 (which describes less fit patients who are not able to work and who may have other health problems). 

The trial drug, which is called pembrolizumab, works by helping the body’s immune system to fight cancer cells. Researchers are looking to find out if this is a safe and effective treatment for head and neck cancer in this patient group, where treatment options are limited.

Most clinical trials in cancer are only offered to fitter patients (with a WHO performance status of 0 or 1), but less fit patients represent a significant proportion of patients with advanced head and neck cancer.

Chief Investigator Martin Forster remarked: 'It is vital that we learn how useful this important class of drug is for less fit patients who are usually excluded from clinical studies with immunotherapy'. 

POPPY is now recruiting patients and will soon be open to further hospitals across the UK. It is supported by Merck Sharp & Dohme Ltd. For more details, visit the trial's webpage

Image shows UCLH; photograph by Mary Hinkley
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