HoT Newsletter February 2023


New clinical trial is now recruiting people who are going to have thyroid surgery

What is the NIFTy trial about?

The aim of the trial is to find out whether using near-infrared fluorescence imaging could reduce the number of people whose parathyroid glands become damaged during thyroid surgery.

The tiny parathyroid glands (behind the thyroid gland) are sometimes hard to locate but emit fluorescence at a particular wavelength. A special camera (that detects light in the near-infra red range) picks this up. In addition, a dye available for clinical use called indocyanine green (ICG) is injected to show the blood supply to the parathyroid glands. This is also detected by the same camera; thus highlighting both the glands and their blood supply.

Protecting these glands is very important because they produce parathyroid hormone which maintains calcium levels in the blood. Removing or damaging the parathyroid glands during surgery causes a condition called post- surgical hypoparathyroidismwhich can require lifelong treatment.

Who can enter?

The trial is now recruiting in several hospitals around the UK until 31/12/2023. It is open to people who are having total thyroid surgery, to remove the whole thyroid, or completion surgery to remove the remaining lobe of their thyroid following a partial thyroidectomy. You will need to discuss your suitability and the entry requirements with your doctor.

What happens if I am eligible to join the trial?

Half the participants will be randomly selected by computer to have the operation with the surgeon using near-infrared fluorescence imaging. The other half will have the operation without using near-infrared fluorescence imaging. Neither you nor your doctor will know which group you are in until this randomisation process is done. The operation you have will be the same whether your surgeon uses the device or not.

Will I have to do anything else?

You will be asked to fill in 2 questionnaires when you join the trial and at 1 month and 6 months after your surgery. One of the questionnaires will relate to your general quality of life and the other will be about your condition and how it affects you. No extra hospital visits will be needed.

If you would like further information please contact one of these patient support groups (click on logo)

HoT Newsletter December 2022

HoT Newsletter June 2022

Butterfly Thyroid Cancer Trust is delighted to be supporting this exciting research project :Near Infrared Autofluorescence of the Parathyroid Glands: A Novel Method for Reducing the Incidence of Permanent Hypoparathyroidism Following Total Thyroidectomy for Thyroid Cancer.
Aimee N. di Marco, Neil S. Tolley, F. Fausto Palazzo

A low level of calcium in the blood (‘hypocalcaemia’) affects up to a quarter of patients following surgery for thyroid cancer. It results when the blood supply to the very tiny parathyroid glands (attached to the thyroid) is affected during surgery. If the parathyroid function does not recover it may require lifelong treatment with calcium and vitamin D. This ‘hypoparathyroidism’ may significantly affect patients’ quality of life due to the need for medication, monitoring and in the long term it may potentially cause problems with kidney function, neurological complications and infections.

The aim of this project is to see if it is possible to exploit a natural property of parathyroid tissue, ‘autofluorescence’, to prevent hypoparathyroidism. Until now, surgeons have had to rely entirely on their experience in the identification of the parathyroid glands and their judgment as to whether their blood supply is sufficient to function normally. In this study, Mr. Palazzo, Professor Tolley and team will be using the ‘Fluobeam 800’ (a near-infrared camera which detects autofluorescence) to check for unrecognized parathyroids on the thyroid gland during surgery and see whether this allows more parathyroid glands to be preserved in situ or, if they do not have a good enough blood supply, allow them to be transplanted into the neck muscle (‘autotransplantation’).

The team is very grateful to the Butterfly Thyroid Cancer Trust for the support which is enabling them to carry out this study: they hope that this work will provide a valuable insight into the effectiveness of this exciting new technology and translate into direct benefit to patients undergoing surgery for thyroid cancer.

June 2016 – Butterfly is pleased to support Dr Glenn Flux and team in their new research : “Investigation of the role of protein bound iodine in radio iodine treatment of thyroid cancer: a sub study of the SELIMETRY trial”, which will examine if there is a correlation between the protein bound iodine measurements and the absorbed doses delivered, and if there is a correlation between the protein bound iodine measurements and treatment outcome. Research will be carried out over 4 years and 60 patients will be recruited into the trial.

James Salter Research Grant 2015 winner

Butterfly is delighted to announce that the James Salter Research Grant Award 2015 has gone to Dr Kate Newbold from the Royal Marsden. Dr Newbold says :

We are delighted to hear that the Butterfly Trust has chosen to support our research study investigating novel biomarkers in thyroid cancer. The aim of this project is to gain a better understanding of the natural history of thyroid cancer with a hope that this will enable us to detect at an earlier stage and with more accuracy when the cancer recurs or progresses. Now that we are in an era of targeted therapies we hope to be able to identify the mutations occurring in tumours with the goal to tailor treatments to an individual patient’s cancer. We hope that this will lead to improved control of disease whilst minimising toxicities of therapies by avoiding drugs or interventions that are unlikely to work for particular tumours.

The Butterfly Trust provides such a valuable service to individual patients but also to the wider thyroid cancer community by raising awareness of this rare, but increasingly frequent, cancer. We are therefore thrilled and proud to be able to start this exciting collaboration with Butterfly.

BTCT is a National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Non-Commercial Partner

Appropriate research studies funded through BTCT’S s Research Fund are now automatically eligible for NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) support and therefore entitled to:

  • Use of the NIHR Coordinated System for gaining NHS Permissions (NIHR CSP) which is accessed via the Integrated Research Application System (IRAS)
  • Access NHS support via the NIHR Clinical Research Network.

Please note that to be eligible for NIHR CRN support any research study we fund must also meet the standard study eligibility criteria, namely that it:

  • Requires NHS Research Ethics Committee approval and NHS permission
  • Is a discrete structured research project with an appropriate study protocol
  • Is of clear value to the NHS
  • Involves NHS patients, staff, premises, facilities or resources