A Royal Free Hospital patient has become the first person worldwide to be enrolled in a study looking at whether two drugs used together can improve outcomes for people with biliary tract cancer.

These are rare cancers that start in the lining of bile ducts, which are part of the digestive system and connect the liver and gallbladder to the small bowel.  

The PORCUPINE2 trial is the first time two drugs - RXC004 and pembrolizumab – are being investigated in combination with one another.  

Dr Roopinder Gillmore, a consultant medical oncologist and the principal investigator for the study, said: “Hepatobiliary cancer is one of the trust’s largest cancer services and patients have the opportunity to participate in a broad range of research studies aiming to improve treatment and provide better understanding of this tumour type. We hope this trial will offer a breakthrough for patients who are often diagnosed in the advanced stages of the disease. We continue to recruit more patients to this important study and look forward to seeing the results in due course.”

Professor Tim Meyer, director of the NIHR Royal Free Clinical Research Facility, where the study is taking place, said: ‘’The CRF provides dedicated space and expert staff to ensure the high quality delivery of complex trials such as this and I am delighted that Royal Free London patients now have the opportunity to take part in more ground-breaking research.’’