A FAREHAM man who finished his cancer treatment in lockdown is taking part in a pioneering clinical trial for brain cancer.

Hugh Aggleton, a civil service worker from Fareham, is taking part in a new clinical trial for patients with glioblastoma brain cancer.

The 36-year-old started to experience what he describes as “strange daydreams” in the late summer of 2019.

These would usually happen when he was cycling up hills, would last for a few minutes and then pass.

However, one day in early October he felt it wasn’t stopping so he got off his bike and sat by the roadside.

The walkers had called an ambulance. Hugh thought he had just fainted and remembers talking to the paramedics and calling his family.

He was taken to A&E at his local hospital in Winchester.

He said: “I’m incredibly thankful to colleagues who drove me to and from work, as I couldn’t drive following the seizures and brain surgery. I found work a helpful distraction and felt well enough to do my job. My employers have been very understanding and supportive.”

His parents, John and Jane Aggleton, rushed to the hospital from their home in Cardiff.

A CT scan suggested that there was something in Hugh’s brain, but this type of scan is unable to say exactly what.

On October 20, 2019, he had surgery for the tumour. Surgeons managed to remove 90 per cent of the diseased tissue.

The biopsy results showed that he had glioblastoma, a malignant and very aggressive brain tumour.

Hugh recovered well from the surgery. Chemotherapy and radiotherapy were the next steps, and he was transferred to the Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth.

As he was approaching the end of his treatment, his oncologist mentioned the immunotherapy clinical trial being led by consultant medical oncologist, Dr Paul Mulholland.

“I remember thinking I’ve got nothing to lose here," Hugh said.

He discussed it with his parents. His father John is a Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at Cardiff University, so he had some useful insights to help Hugh make a decision.

He signed up for the trial. On January 27, 2020, he started, travelling to University College Hospital in London regularly for the treatment, which is an infusion of a drug called ipilimumab, as well as temozolomide chemotherapy.

Fortunately, he was able to continue with his treatment during the first national lockdown.

Hugh had his final round of treatment in September 2020 and now continues to be monitored by Dr Mulholland, with regular MRI scans and blood tests.

The drug ipilimumab, which has seen significant improvements in survival rates for people with melanoma skin cancer, is being given to patients with glioblastoma.

The trial is the UK’s first large scale, charitably funded, immunotherapy clinical trial for NHS patients recently diagnosed with glioblastoma and it is funded by The National Brain Appeal.

The charity took action to tackle a worldwide lack of clinical trials and lack of progress with brain cancer.