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First UK participants to new cancer studies recruited at Derriford Hospital

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A cancer patient from Plymouth is the first to be recruited in the UK to a clinical trial investigating new drug combinations for people with multiple myeloma (blood cancer) who have not responded well to previous treatments. 

The study - supported locally by the NIHR Clinical Research Network South West Peninsula – welcomed its first UK participant at Derriford Hospital, run by University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust.

Multiple myeloma is a blood cancer that affects certain types of white blood cells called plasma cells. Although treatments are available, multiple myeloma can come back after treatment or be resistant to standard treatment.

Drugs that redirect T cells (a type of white blood cell) to attack cancer cells may be an effective means to destroy cancer cells leading to a long-term treatment response.

In this study, researchers want to learn about the effectiveness of two drugs, developed by Janssen-Cilag International, in comparison to other drugs.

Researchers are looking for individuals aged 18 years old and over, diagnosed with multiple myeloma who have been previously treated with 1 to 4 lines of treatments in the past, to which they either did not respond or after which their multiple myeloma has come back.

The research team at Derriford Hospital have also recruited the first UK participant to a prostate cancer study investigating Saruparib, developed by AstraZeneca.

Helen Smith, Research Nurse Specialist at Derriford Hospital, said: “Our Oncologists and dedicated Research Team work extremely hard to be able to offer our patients new and alternative treatments as well as ways in which to improve their quality of life. We strive to ensure they receive treatment in a safe and supportive environment.”

Being the first in the country to recruit a patient in a global trial is a key performance indicator for the life sciences industry as it shows that the UK can support the rapid set-up and recruitment of studies.