A British man, who was previously given a year to live only last year by doctors, has recovered from a serious and difficult-to-treat form of cancer and is now completely free of the disease thanks to a new drug trial.
Robert Glen, 51, a welder from Worsley in Greater Manchester, was diagnosed with biliary tract cancer after experiencing severe pain in his shoulder that kept him up all night.
Mr Glynn said he "wouldn't be here" without the results of the trial being run by Christie's, part of the NHS Foundation Trust in Manchester.
Despite a series of examinations and tests by his GP, his cancer was only discovered by chance, when he developed a gallbladder infection.
Also known as cholangiocarcinoma, this condition causes the cells lining the bile ducts to multiply more quickly than they should. The bile ducts are small tubes that connect the liver, gallbladder, and small intestine. It releases bile into the intestines after eating, which helps digest fats.
Cholangiocarcinoma is a rare form of disease with few treatment options. Cholangiocarcinomas are often diagnosed, based on where cancer appears in the gallbladder ducts when it is at an advanced stage, which makes successful treatment difficult.
Mr. Glenn was told that the cancer was in an advanced stage and had spread to the adrenal gland. He was referred to Christie's, where experts offered him the chance to take part in a clinical trial of immunotherapy.
Before the trial began, Mr. Glenn's tumor was analyzed to check for any genetic changes. The result showed that the tumor had a high mutational burden (large numbers of genetic mutations in the cells), suggesting that it might have a good response to treatment.
Glenn started using an immunotherapy drug that was already approved for use in other types of cancer, including lung, kidney, and esophageal cancer.
The treatment, which is given through a drip and helps an individual's immune system fight cancer, was combined with standard chemotherapy.
The drug cannot be named because of the experimental nature of this trial for bile duct cancer.
Glenn saw his tumors shrink during the treatment. The tumor in his liver changed from 12 cm to 2.6 cm, while the adrenal gland tumor shrank from 7 cm to 4.1 cm.
This meant that Glenn was able to undergo surgery in April to remove the tumors. Surgeons found only dead tissue, which means the treatment killed all the cancerous cells.
"When given the option to participate in the trial, I jumped at the opportunity," Glenn said. "I will do everything I can to prolong my life. I feel very fortunate that I had cancer for two years and had no idea... In a strange way, the diagnosis turned my life around."
Since the surgery, Glenn has not required any other treatment and scans he has had every three months show that he is cancer-free.
Further studies are now being conducted with more patients in hopes of changing the treatment of bile duct cancer.
In an effort to live a healthier life, Glen completely changed his diet and lost a lot of weight.
He said, "I cut out all processed foods, refined sugar, dairy and milk products, and now eat juice every day, and lots of organic fruit and vegetables...I realized that you can't just rely on doctors to help you. You need to help yourself too. It's also important." Stay positive and don't give up.
The clinical trial was conducted by Professor Juan Valle, Consultant Oncologist at Christie's, a world-renowned expert in cholangiocarcinoma.
Published on December 30,2022 - Source: The Independent - https://ar.rt.com/ugzk