Robert Glynn, a 51-year-old welder from Greater Manchester, who was given a year to live after being diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer is now disease-free. Glynn was a part of a personalised drug regime trial organised by the Christie NHS Foundation Trust.
Glynn told the Guardian he would not be here if it were not for the ‘remarkable results’ of the immunotherapy trial which was run by the Christie NHS foundation trust in Manchester.
A day before his 49th birthday in June 2020, Glenn complained about a severe pain in his shoulder which rendered him sleepless. He was diagnosed with intrahepatic bile duct cancer that day.
Robert Glynn from Manchester was given a year to live after being diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer, but he is now disease-free thanks to a clinical trial at The Christie.Read Robert's story 👇 https://t.co/QEOIiH5Sj4 pic.twitter.com/rWMerTvU0G
— The Christie NHS (@TheChristieNHS) December 30, 2022
The disease is also known as biliary tract cancer. When people suffer from biliary tract cancer their cells lining the bile ducts grow and multiply more than they should. These bile ducts are small tubes that connect the liver, gallbladder and small intestine and release bile into the small intestine after eating to help digest fat.
The cancer spread to Glynn’s adrenal gland and liver by the time he was diagnosed. The tumours also became too big, which meant they were inoperable. The cancer was classified as Stage 4 and the prognosis was bleak.
Glynn told the Guardian that he asked his consultant regarding how long he had and knew at that time he only had 12 months to live.
American studies cited by Liver Cancer UK says that people like Glynn have low chances of survival and only one in 50 people (2%) lived for at least five years after their diagnosis.
Close to 1,000 people are diagnosed with bile duct cancer every year in the UK.
Christie’s NHS trust deemed Glynn to be a good candidate for the clinical trial of an immunotherapy drug which was already approved for use in lung, kidney and esophageal cancer. In this mode of therapy, the immune system receives help in recognising and attacking cancer cells.
Analysis conducted before the treatment in Christie’s revealed that Glynn’s tumour had large numbers of genetic mutations in the cells which indicated that he might respond well to the treatment.
He also continued to receive chemotherapy and the medicine which was part of the trial was administered via a drip. The Guardian report did not name the drug due to the experimental nature of the trial for bile duct cancer.
After he received the treatment, the tumour in his liver shrank from 12cm to 2.6cm and the tumour in his adrenal gland shrank from 7cm to 4.1cm, allowing the Worsley resident to undergo surgery to remove them in April.
The surgeons said they found dead tissue which meant that the treatment killed all the cancer cells. “They didn’t find any active cancer cells at all. They tested the tumours twice because they couldn’t quite believe it,” Glynn was quoted as saying by the Guardian.
Glynn did not require any further treatment and remains free of cancer. The study has been expanded to include more patients and there are hopes that the way biliary tract cancer has been treated will change.
Glenn also lost almost 32 kilos after he learned of the link between obesity and cancer and stopped eating processed foods, refined sugar, dairy and milk.
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