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Case study: Taking part in cancer research: Timothy's story

Taking part in cancer research: Timothy's story

Timothy Stickland, 66, of Little Chalfont, Buckinghamshire took part in the Myeloma XI trial into drug treatments for newly diagnosed myeloma, a bone marrow cancer of the plasma cells, which can result in bone pain, fractures, fatigue, anaemia, infections and kidney problems. The trial compared combination of drugs including cyclophosphamide, dexamethasone, lenalidomide, carfilzomib,bortezomib and vorinostat. Results from part of the trial showed some drugs stopped myeloma coming back.

Talk to your healthcare professional about taking part in research or search for studies seeking volunteers at Be Part of Research.

How did you come to take part in the trial?

I was diagnosed with myeloma in March 2015 and was offered the chance to take part in a clinical trial looking at a new combination of chemotherapy Drugs to evaluate their effectiveness in treating Myeloma.

Why did you choose to take part in the trial?

I come from a  medical sciences background and have always been an advocate in the use of clinical trials, as one of the best ways of advancing medical treatments to improve patient outcomes. From my training I was very aware that myeloma had been very difficult to treat in the past and this trial gave me the first-hand experience of how a clinical trial works and how their outcomes can help in the treatment of diseases that were previously seen as very hard to treat.

What was your experience of taking part in the trial?

My experience in taking part in this trial was and is still very positive, although some of the treatment was quite difficult at first, I was supported by a good team including doctors and research nurses who were available at all times who were able to help me understand what was happening, which made the taking part a lot easier. I was pleased with the initial outcome on my behalf, as the combination of drugs I was trialling worked very well and I only needed four cycles of initial treatment to bring my levels down into what would be seen in the normal population prior to having a final course of intense treatment, a stem cell transplant. Once I had recovered from the transplant, I was randomised to see if I should go onto a maintenance course of one of the drugs, or if I should just be monitored every three months to see if the myeloma returns. I was randomised just to be monitored every three months and I am pleased to say that I am still in remission and just being monitored for the trial every three months. 

What would you say to other people about taking part in research? 

Research is the best way to advance medical treatments and taking part in a research programme may give you access to the newest advances in clinical science. All clinical trials protocols must be approved by an ethics committee and will be fully explained to you before you are enrolled onto the trial. You will have support during any trial by a research specialist or nurse who you can contact to ask questions. You will always be treated for whatever condition you have. Although the results of the clinical trial that you take part in may not always help you, they will be helping those who come after you.

Talk to your healthcare professional about taking part in research or search for studies seeking volunteers at Be Part of Research.