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Man given less than a year to live is now cancer-free thanks to drug

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Robert Glynn was given less than a year to live after being diagnosed with bile duct cancer in August 2020. Tthe 51-year-old welder is now cancer-free after undergoing an NHS trial for a new wonder drug. An emotional and overwhelmed Mr Glynn said “he wouldn’t be here” if it weren’t for the NHS trial, the MEN reports.

The welder from Worsley in Greater Manchester was diagnosed with the rare and difficult-to-treat cancer after he began suffering severe pain in his shoulder.

The pain became so intense that it left him unable to sleep.

When he visited his GP, Robert underwent routine scans and blood tests.

However, his cancer was not picked up until August 2020 when he got a gall bladder infection.

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Only 1,000 people a year in the UK receive a bile duct cancer diagnosis, which means the cancer forms in the bile ducts inside the liver. 

Just five percent of patients go on to live five years or more.

Doctors told Robert that his cancer was advanced and had spread to his adrenal gland.

Fortunately, he was offered the chance to take part in an experimental clinical trial for his cancer.

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He recalled: “When I was given the option to take part in research, I jumped at the chance. You do anything you can to extend your life.”

The clinical trial was run by the Christie NHS Foundation Trust in Manchester, which opened a brand-new Cancer Research Centre in 2015.

The drug cannot be named due to the trial’s experimental nature.

The immunotherapy treatment, which is given by a drip, helps the immune system fight cancer and was mixed with chemotherapy.

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Thanks to the experimental wonder drug, Robert’s tumours shrank rapidly. 

When surgeons acted to remove the tumours in April this year, they found only dead tissue which meant the treatment had successfully killed all the cancer cells.

He said: “I wouldn’t be here today without the trial. I feel very lucky. Getting the all-clear was overwhelming.”

Robert’s three-monthly check-up scans show he remains cancer-free.

Prof Juan Valle, a consultant oncologist at the Christie, said: “Robert has done very well on this combination due to his tumour having a high number of genetic mutations.

“It highlights the importance of personalised medicine.”

Further studies are now being carried out with more patients with the hope of changing the treatment of bile duct cancer.

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