Westcountry patient is first in worldwide cancer treatment trial
A Westcountry hospital has scored a world first in the fight against breast cancer.
The Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust's (RCHT) Cancer Research and Development Team has been successful in entering the first patient in the world into a major study examining post-surgical treatment for breast cancer.
The team, based in The Sunrise Centre in Truro, is recruiting patients to a large international research study.
Researchers are comparing two treatments used if chemotherapy has failed to completely destroy a breast tumour.
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Dr Darren Beech, cancer research and development team leader at RCHT, said it was good news in the battle against the disease.
"This study will only look at a small number of patients.
"Thankfully our gold-standard treatment is excellent at completely destroying breast tumours in many women, but some tumours are more stubborn and at surgery we still find some remaining cancer cells.
"These patients benefit from having further treatment and the trial is looking at whether a new drug is better than our gold-standard at preventing the recurrence of breast cancers in these women.
"We were delighted that our first patient was in fact the first in the world.
"We have since entered another patient so we are well on our way to recruit our target number of patients into the study.
"Globally, the study will recruit nearly 1,500 patients, so we in Cornwall have a small but important part to play."
Dr Duncan Wheatley, consultant clinical oncologist and principal investigator for the study at RCHT, said it was important to take part in trials.
"We aim to offer as many people with cancer the opportunity to enter a clinical trial as there is clear evidence that outcomes are better when patients are within a trial.
"The Peninsula team is the second biggest recruiter in the UK to randomised cancer trials which is a fantastic testament to the research team's hard work.
"I am very proud of our team and grateful to all patients who give up their time to help all the research that is done.
"The trust and in particular the Research Support Service are backing these trials, meaning that we can work to encourage more people to take part."