13 November 2019
Spire Edinburgh Hospitals’ consultants Dr Peter Henriksen, Consultant Cardiologist, and Dr Olga Oikonomidou, Consultant Medical Oncologist, are leading a team conducting a UK multicentre clinical trial looking at treatments to protect the heart muscle from the damaging effects of cancer chemotherapy.
Survival from breast cancer and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (nHL) continues to improve and this is in part down to chemotherapy drugs called anthracyclines. This medication can cause heart muscle injury and cancer survivors have increased rates of heart problems including heart muscle failure.
The Cardiac CARE Study is jointly funded by the National Institute of Health Research and the British Heart Foundation and is recruiting patients in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Oxford, Manchester, Cardiff and London. The study is examining a blood test called cardiac troponin I which can detect very slight heart muscle injury. The research team believe that this marker will identify patients at increased risk of chemotherapy related heart muscle failure. Patients in the study have blood test monitoring during chemotherapy. If cardiac troponin I concentrations rise they are randomised to receive heart muscle protecting medication. Heart muscle function is monitored closely with detailed cardiac MRI scanning before and after cancer treatments.
Dr Oikonomidou commented that, ‘Cancer survival continues to improve. Patients and doctors are increasingly concerned about the potential for late side effects of cancer therapy such as heart muscle failure. These problems may develop 10 years after the patients have been cured of their cancer. The Cardiac CARE Study will address this problem by identifying and treating at-risk patients early on.’
Spire Healthcare is supporting the UK Cardiac CARE study in Cardiff. Cancer patients receiving treatment at University Hospital Wales and Velindre Cancer Centre were only able to participate after Spire Cardiff Hospital provided access to its cardiac MRI scanning facility which is essential for monitoring heart function in the study.
Dr Henriksen said, ‘This arrangement with Spire Healthcare has been a real boost and more importantly has allowed patients in Cardiff to enrol in the trial.’
Zaheer Yousef, Consultant Cardiologist, at Spire Cardiff Hospital said, ‘We at Spire Cardiff Hospital were delighted to help take part in this trial by providing cardiac screenings to cancer patients from the University Hospital Wales and Velindre Cancer Centre. By providing these screenings, I hope it will help assist in detecting heart muscle failure earlier on for patients who have received chemotherapy and make a difference for the future.’