Dundee University supports cancer patients’ fight against COVID-19

The University of Dundee has been one of the first UK cancer centres to join a new network focused on quickly understanding and sharing the best approach to care for cancer patients with COVID-19.

Cancer patients are at increased risk of contracting COVID-19 but at the moment, we don’t yet understand how the virus interacts with cancer, which type of patients may be most vulnerable and the best way to treat them.  A new database created within the UK will feed anonymised information on patient care and successful treatment programmes to medical experts across the country. With data already being submitted, Professor Petty at the University of Dundee says that the database will quickly allow experts to identify suitable care plans that will help to save lives.

Professor Petty:

“I am proud that Dundee has been one of the first cancer centres to sign up to this initiative,” he said. Sadly, cancer patients are more susceptible to contracting coronavirus. Their immune system is already weakened, particularly in those receiving chemotherapy.

“What this project will do will allow us to share details of cancer patients that are infected by COVID-19 with other healthcare workers, detailing their treatments and what has proven successful. This should be hugely reassuring for our patients, as it will allow us to identify the best pathway to keep them safe at what is a hugely worrying time.

“Because more than 90 cancer centres in the country are contributing we should expect the database to build up very quickly, allowing us to make the best informed decisions that protect those we care for.”

The UK Cancer Coronavirus Monitoring Network has been founded by the Universities of Birmingham, Oxford and Leeds and is supported by Cancer Research UK, The Association of Cancer Physicians, The Royal College of Radiologists and the UK Chemotherapy Board. It is believed to be the first register of its kind in the world.

Dundee University’s Cancer Centre is part of the School of Life Sciences.