Malignant Melanoma is a deadly disease, with no cure. Our belief is that we must support the research of this disease to prevent future patients from going through what we are having to endure. We must find a cure!
There are several new drugs currently being trialed which it is believed herald a new dawn in the treatment of this particular type of cancer. There are very few effective treatments, and the current buzz around the drug companies is that stimulation of the patient’s immune system into fighting the cancer cells itself maybe a huge step forward. Indeed Elise has been fortunate to have been granted use of Ipilimumab ( an immune system stimulant ) by her doctor, and will be the first person in the UK to have this treatment now it has been re-introduced.
16th September 2010
In Manchester, we have the biggest melanoma practice in the UK. We have a team working on research into melanoma and its treatment, and an experienced team of surgeons, oncologists, pathologists and nurses. We collaborate with teams around the UK and internationally, leading on clinical research in melanoma.
One of our main priorities is to develop new, effective treatments for patients with melanoma. One of the most promising new treatments is Adoptive Cell Therapy, a treatment developed in the US. This has shown a lot of promise in early phase studies but is not yet available outside the US, apart from one centre in Israel. It involves removing some of the tumour, growing the immune cells that recognise it, giving the patient chemotherapy, and returning the expanded cells with treatment to stimulate the immune system. We are at an advanced stage of development of this treatment, with new laboratories at Manchester University opened earlier this year to manipulate and grow the immune cells, and have completed nearly all the preliminary laboratory work to allow us to start a clinical trial. The plan is to start this within the next 6-12 months. The initial funding will come from charitable donations. Once treatment is up and running, we will bid for national funds for this treatment, to be made available to all suitable patients in the UK.
We have a number of other projects ongoing or planned, and many of these are or will be supported by donations. These range from sophisticated tests to detect melanoma cells in the blood, to a proposal to better understand and manage the anxiety that patients suffer when visiting the clinic.
I’m confident that the next 5 years are going to bring a significant improvement in our treatments for melanoma, and this will be due to the determination of patients, families and the research teams involved in this illness.
Dr Paul Lorigan.
Clinical Trials Unit
Previously the Derek Crowther Clinical trials unit, named after Professor Derek Crowther, the first Director of Medical Oncology at The Christie, the new Clinical Trials Unit is an amazing place. It is now housed in the brand new £32m patient treatment centre at The Christie ( opened November 2010 ) and is the largest ‘early’ trials unit in the world!
What are clinical trials?
They are research studies … to find new and better treatments, interventions, diagnostic procedures and ways of preventing cancer. And it is the only evidence-based method of deciding whether a new approach to treatment or care is better than the current standard.
Trials may explore any aspect, including the psychological and financial effect of treatment or the quality of patient life. They follow a strict protocol (or plan). And patients are only involved at the end of a long research process.
Why are clinical trials needed?
Clinical trials …
- add to the knowledge of efficient treatments
- improve patient care by developing new treatments
- provide information about drug safety and effectiveness
- control symptoms such as pain sickness
- and test the success of psychological therapies.
The objective may be to improve the chances of survival, relieve symptoms or side effects of treatment, or improve the quality of life and sense of well being for people with cancer.