A CHANDLER’S Ford woman has contributed to new ground-breaking cancer research.

The research has shown that a drug, developed from the results of cancer immunology research at the University of Southampton, can reduce the risk of the most common blood cancer.

Julie Davis, 53, took part in a trial led by Kings College London to see if a new therapeutic antibody known as obinutuzumab could be a cure for follicular lymphoma.

The cancer causes white blood cells of the immune system, called lymphocytes, to grow and multiply uncontrollably. It is typically treated with a combination of chemotherapy and an antibody called rituximab.

Initial research by scientists at the University of Southampton showed that obinutuzumab has a stronger effect on the cancer cells.

The study, which included 1,200 people showed that obinutuzumab reduced the risk of disease progression or death in patients with follicular lymphoma by 34 per cent compared with rituximab (rituxan) plus chemotherapy.

Julie used the drug after she discovered that multiple tumours were found to be growing in her groin and under her arms.

After six months of combined antibody and chemotherapy treatment which reduced the largest of the tumours from 10cm to 0.5cm along with a further 18 months of treatment with just the trial drug, Julie was given the news that she had no active lymphoma.

Julie said: “The response from day one was amazing. It felt like there was a little Pac-Man munching away at the tumours and I was going to be the one to win.

“For me, taking part in a clinical trial turned something as negative as cancer into a positive. I never realised there was such amazing research going on right on my doorstep, and I am humbled that I, in some small way, might be able to help make a positive difference to the future of cancer treatment.

“A cancer diagnosis changes your life in many ways, both mentally and physically. You need to readjust and find a new normal. After taking part in the trial at Southampton I feel very positive for the future.”

Dr Andy Davies, one of the lead investigators of the study, added: “This new type of antibody treatment for lymphoma has been developed from immunology research in Southampton which began more than 10 years ago, when we started to find out how these antibodies work.

“We have much more to do in many different types of cancer, but this is a great example of how discovery science can work.”


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e: richard.percival@dailyecho.co.uk