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Restarting a climb to the SUMMIT


As NIHR enters a new phase in supporting the restart of portfolio research, the SUMMIT Study is making great strides in resuming patient appointments that were initially delayed due to COVID-19.

The study, running at University College London Hospitals NHS Trust (UCLH), is the largest ever UK lung cancer low dose CT screening study, and seeks to detect lung cancer early amongst at-risk Londoners whilst assisting development of a new blood test for the early detection of many types of cancer. 

SUMMIT aims to recruit 25,000 men and women aged 50-77 in London who are at higher risk of cancer due to their smoking history. All participants provide a blood sample, which will be analysed to evaluate whether lung and other cancers can be detected early through genomic signals in the blood.

The COVID pandemic has led to delays in both follow ups and new recruitments. The team have instituted new working patterns and participant flows to allow a safe re-opening of the four lung health check centres which will have caught up on all delayed clinically necessary appointments by the end of August with the first new recruits due in September.

“It has been a great effort by the team to get the SUMMIT study up and running again,” says Sam Janes, Professor of Respiratory Medicine at UCL/UCLH and Chief Investigator of the SUMMIT Study. “I am hugely grateful to the UCL Cancer Trials Centre, clinical fellows, senior research nurses, the SUMMIT contact centre and the site teams for working so hard to make sure that these participants are seen. As we know, early diagnosis is key to successful lung cancer treatment, so these follow up appointments are crucial.”

Lung cancer is the biggest cancer killer in the UK, as most people only experience symptoms when the cancer is at an advanced stage and difficult to treat. This large-scale study provides a unique opportunity to detect lung cancer much earlier in those that smoke, whilst treatment is still more likely to be successful.

You can find out more about the SUMMIT Study on the UCLH website.