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HUNTER: observational clinical trail

We want to record information about patients with liver disease and compare this to similar patients with primary liver cancer (HCC). Patients who consent to take part in the study will donate blood samples, answer questions about them and their health, and donate "left over" liver samples following standard-care procedures. Our team of academic experts will then study all of the data which will lead to a greater understanding of HCC, and will inform future research.

Open sites

Our first site opened on 1 November 2019. We currently have 4 sites open to recruitment.

  • Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, led by Professor Helen Reeves,
  • NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde, led by Professor Jeff Evans.
  • Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust, led by Professor Tim Meyer.
  • King's College Hospital, London, led by Dr Debashis Sarkar.

Opening shortly

  • Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, NHS Lothian, led by Dr Tom Bird.
  • University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, led by Dr Shish Shetty.
  • Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, led by Dr Matt Hoare.
  • University Hospital Southampton NHS Trust, led by Professor Salim Khakoo.
  • Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, led by Dr Rohini Sharma.
  • The Christie NHS Foundation Trust Manchester, led by Dr Richard Hubner.
  • Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, led by Dr Tim Cross.
  • Oxford University NHS Trust, led by Dr Eleanor Barnes.

Research studies involving people are called clinical trials. The are 2 main types of clinical trial.

Interventional trials aim to find out more about a particular treatment. People taking part are put into treatment groups and the research team compare the results between groups.

Observational studies aim to find out what happens to people in different situations. The research team observe the people taking part without changing what treatments people have. HUNTER is an observational trial therefore participating will not change the standard of care.

You can find out more about different types of clinical trails here.

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To participate in HUNTER you must be under the care of a clinician at one of the participating sites. Your clinical team will be able to advise if you fit the inclusion criteria.

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Samples will either be used in experiments straight away, or they may be stored to use in experiments in the future. This is all carried out according to protocols approved by the Research Ethics Committee.

You can read more about the ongoing research here 

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The HUNTER cinical trial will close in 2023. It can take several years to analyse all the data.......

The results may be presented at scientific meetings and published in scientific journals. Your name or any other details that may identify you will not be used in any  publications. If you wish to receive copies of any published results, please contact us.

The study involves you giving consent for some extra blood (about two ‐ three tablespoons) to be taken at the same time as routine blood samples. These may be taken during outpatient clinic visits as well as before and after investigations or treatments on the liver, surgical or oncology wards. You could also be asked for extra samples (at the same time as routine samples) at your follow up appointments.
In addition we may collect left over tissue from your liver after a liver biopsy or a liver operation. (This would not involve any extra procedure on you). After the study is finished we’d like to keep your samples for use in future studies. We will record information about you such as your name, age, gender, your liver function and stage of disease, any procedures you undergo, details of the treatment you receive, as well as how you respond to the treatment. 

The study is being organised by Newcastle University, funded through a partnership between Cancer Research UK, Fondazione AIRC and Fundación Científica de la Asociacion Española Contra el Cáncer, and sponsored by the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

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