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Blood cancer clinical trials in Southampton
BLOOD cancer patients in Southampton will be some of the first in the country to have access to promising new lifesaving drugs.
Six new blood cancer clinical trials will be launched this year at Southampton General Hospital, giving patients in the city the first opportunity to try them if they are not responding to standard treatments.
Southampton is just one of 13 hospitals in the UK to take part in the Trials Acceleration Programme (TAP), a new national trials network set up by the charity Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research in a bid to speed up access to life-saving drugs.
The first trial will start this month, giving patients suffering from Polycythaemia Vera (PV) and Essential Thrombocythaemia (ET) access to a promising new drug called Ruxolitinib.
PV and ET are blood disorders that cause blood clotting and bleeding.
Current treatment usually includes blood removal and chemotherapy drugs which reduce clotting.
But around 20 per cent of patients with the conditions cannot tolerate or do not respond to the treatment, leaving them with the only option to take drugs which carry a significantly increased risk of severe side effects, including leukaemia.
It is hoped that the new drug will target a common abnormality in the blood of patients with these conditions, improving the quality of life for sufferers.
Dr Andrew Davies, senior lecturer and consultant oncologist at Southampton General Hospital, said: “This is the first clinical trial to enter the Trials Acceleration Programme in Southampton.
“Ruxolitinib has shown considerable promise that it could improve quality of life and life-expectancy for a significant number of patients with these serious, but relatively rare, blood disorders.
“The opening of six new clinical trials this year will give local patients with a range of blood cancers new options if current treatments fail or are unsuitable.”