A man who was told he had less than a year to live is now cancer-free thanks to a new drug trial.
Robert Glynn, 51, says he 'wouldn't be here today' if not for the trial he took part in, with experts hopeful it could be used to treat other patients with the same cancer.
Glynn was given the devastating news that he had had intrahepatic bile duct cancer in August 2020 - a rare form of cancer that has few treatment options.
Glynn, from Worsley in Greater Manchester, was told his cancer was at an advanced stage and had spread to his adrenal gland.
He was referred to the Christie NHS Foundation Trust in Manchester where he was offered the opportunity to participate in a clinical trial of immunotherapy.
Glynn was started on an immunotherapy drug which is already approved for use in other cancers, including lung and kidney cancer.
The drug, which hasn’t been named due to its experimental nature treating this type of cancer, is given via a drip and works by helping a person’s own immune system fight cancer.
Incredibly, following the treatment Glynn saw his tumours shrink, with one in his liver going from 12cm to 2.6cm, meaning he was able to have an operation to remove them.
After removing the tumours, surgeons found only dead tissue which meant the treatment had killed off all the cancer cells.
Speaking to PA, Glynn said: “I wouldn’t be here today without the trial. 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.
“I feel very lucky as I had the cancer for two years and had no idea. So getting the all-clear was overwhelming.
“In an odd kind of way, having the diagnosis has turned my life around. With my partner, Simone, we get out in nature and walk loads. When something like this happens you realise life is for living.”
Since his operation, Glynn has not needed any more treatment and his three-monthly scans show he is clear of cancer.
Further studies are now being carried out with more patients with the hope of changing the treatment of biliary tract cancer.
The clinical trial was run by Professor Juan Valle, consultant oncologist at the Christie and a world-leading expert in biliary tract cancer.
He said: “Robert has done very well on this combination due to his tumour having a high mutation burden, or a high number of genetic mutations.
“Most patients with this diagnosis do not have as many mutations in their cancer cells so the treatment won’t be as effective, but it does highlight the importance of personalised medicine.
“The results of this research and another larger study are keenly anticipated by colleagues worldwide as it could lead to a change in how we treat patients like Robert in the future.”