Hospital's Research Unit Leads the Way in Testing Treatments; Clinical Trials Facility Helps Patients like Leukaemia Sufferer John

South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales), June 4, 2012 | Go to article overview

Hospital's Research Unit Leads the Way in Testing Treatments; Clinical Trials Facility Helps Patients like Leukaemia Sufferer John


Byline: Julia McWatt

TUCKED away in Cardiff's University Hospital of Wales is a group of researchers who could be discovering a new treatment to save patients' lives in the future.

The Clinical Research Facility, which first opened in 2007, conducts studies into possible answers to serious medical conditions. There are currently about 35 research studies ongoing into conditions such as leukaemia and lymphoma, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy and diabetes.

Some of the therapies offered as part of research studies include the administration of new drugs including chemotherapies, monoclonal antibodies and vaccines.

Patients are identified after consultants are informed about the study to see if they can refer anyone.

They cannot put themselves forward for trials, but have to be offered the opportunity by medical professionals who feel that it might be suitable for them.

As one of only six centres of its kind in the UK, the facility has helped people like John White, who is the first patient in the world to finish his trial of a new drug designed to fight leukaemia.

The 79-year-old from Barry had been diagnosed with the condition nine years ago and had been monitored with regular blood tests.

But his symptoms started getting worse and John was suffering with excessive sweating, fatigue and lumps, which had appeared on his limbs.

His consultant offered him the chance to be part of the trial, which involved using a monoclonal antibody, which specifically attacks the cancer cells, rather than chemotherapy which is designed to attack all the cells in the body.

After the first treatment, medics started to notice a difference in John, and he is now in remission.

John said: "When the treatment started we were coming in once a week, then it was fortnightly, then it was every month. My last treatment was in May. I would have a drip in each arm - one was saline and the other was the drug and it would take up the whole day.

"Before I was feeling quite unwell. I was uncomfortable and always tired but I feel great now.

"The treatment did not affect me at all and I was chuffed to find out it had worked so well and that I was the first one to finish.

"Things happened so quickly - after the first dose we could see changes. It was amazing to see the difference after one dose. …

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