The Anonymous Widower

There’s More To Liverpool Than Football And The Beatles!

This morning, this story on the BBC web site entitled ‘Major Win’ In Pancreatic Cancer Fight is one of the top stories. This is said.

A new combination of chemotherapy drugs should become the main therapy for pancreatic cancer, say UK researchers.

The disease is so hard to treat that survival rates have barely changed for decades.

But data, presented at the world’s biggest cancer conference, showed long-term survival could be increased from 16% to 29%.

The findings have been described as a “major win”, “incredibly exciting” and as offering new hope to patients.

I must admit that I feel a touch of pride, as the study was led by Professor John Neoptolemos at Liverpool University, which was where my late wife and I met when we were both students at the University.

But I also feel a touch of relief for others, who might get this awful cancer in the future, as now they may stand a better chance of survival, than did our youngest son; George, who survived just a few months after diagnosis.

I also raised a small sum of money for the research by visiting all 92 English and Welsh football clubs in alphabetical order by public transport. The main funding for the research included Cancer Research UK and I think some EU money!

The BBC story also says this.

The trial on 732 patients – in hospitals in the UK, Sweden, France and Germany – compared the standard chemotherapy drug gemcitabine against a combination of gemcitabine and capecitabine.

I’ve looked up the two drugs mentioned and both are on the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines, which are the most important drugs needed in a basic health system.

An article in The Guardian is also illuminating. This is said.

The ESPAC trials, which began publishing findings in 2004, showed that chemotherapy with gemcitabine brings five-year survival up to 15-17%, doubling the rate of survival with surgery alone. The latest research, presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting in Chicago, showed the two-drug combination nearly doubles the survival rate again to 29%.

It showed, said Neoptolemos, that chemotherapy does work in pancreatic cancer, even though most attention in cancer research is now focused on immunotherapy, and precision or targeted medicine.

But the trial would not have happened without funding from the charity CancerResearch UK (CRUK), because both drugs are old and off-patent, meaning they can be made by any generic drug manufacturer and are consequently cheap. Drug companies would not foot the bill for such a trial because the profits to be made are small.

“This is an academic-led presentation,” said Neoptolemos. “This shows the enormous value of CRUK. Without them, none of this would have happened. There is a lot of pressure [on doctors] to do drug company trials because you get £2,000 to £3,000 a patient. For something like this, you don’t get anything. It has been quite tough to do.”

So this is not some elite drug for the rich, famous and powerful, but one that might even be applied everywhere.

I must admit, that I’ve shed the odd tear this morning!

June 4, 2016 - Posted by | Health | , , , ,


  1. I remember you doing the 92 football clubs. I am glad that a breakthrough has been made, even though it is too late for George.

    Comment by nosnikrapzil | June 4, 2016 | Reply

  2. But not too late for others!

    The Guardian piece also states that good surgery is essential and we should have only a few large centres.

    Since Celia had her breast cancer which she completely survived and a couple of friends have survived prostate cancer after operations by robot, I’m convinced that’s right.

    Patients who insist on going to their local hospital, should be made to see a shrink! Unless the local hospital is the best in its field.

    Comment by AnonW | June 4, 2016 | Reply

  3. I agree, and since people can “choose and book” which hospital they go to within NHS, there is no excuse. Insurance doesn’t fund chronic pain management, and I go to Salford Royal for that (used to be called Hope Hospital and often still in). Even with insurance, we choose our consultants based on which NHS hospital they are from, based on the hospitals specialties.

    Comment by nosnikrapzil | June 12, 2016 | Reply

  4. […] in the Institute of Translational Medicine, where the pancreatic cancer research I wrote about in There’s More To Liverpool Than Football And The Beatles! was carried […]

    Pingback by Liverpool University Strikes Again! « The Anonymous Widower | August 8, 2016 | Reply

  5. […] I wrote about the research in There’s More To Liverpool Than Football And The Beatles! […]

    Pingback by Remembering A Relative Or Friend « The Anonymous Widower | August 19, 2016 | Reply

  6. […] I raised a little bit of money, for the pancreatic cancer study I talk about in There’s More To Liverpool Than Football And The Beatles!. […]

    Pingback by Life After Pancreatic Cancer « The Anonymous Widower | October 3, 2021 | Reply

  7. […] My optimism about pancreatic cancer probably started , after the results of the research to which I added funding in a small way were published. I wrote about them in There’s More To Liverpool Than Football And The Beatles!. […]

    Pingback by Guided Beam Treatment Is Extending Life For Patients With Pancreatic Cancer « The Anonymous Widower | February 7, 2022 | Reply

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