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'I'm at forefront of new treatments': Man with incurable bone marrow cancer helps trial

PUBLISHED: 10:36 16 October 2019 | UPDATED: 10:36 16 October 2019

David Anstee, from Banham, diagnosed with incurable myeloma, is among the volunteers on a clinical trial of new treatments. Picture: NNUH

David Anstee, from Banham, diagnosed with incurable myeloma, is among the volunteers on a clinical trial of new treatments. Picture: NNUH

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A Norfolk man diagnosed with incurable bone marrow cancer is at forefront of pioneering new treatments after joining a clinical trial.

The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital has recuited the highest number of pateints to take parrt in the national bone marrow cancer clinical trial. Photo: Nick ButcherThe Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital has recuited the highest number of pateints to take parrt in the national bone marrow cancer clinical trial. Photo: Nick Butcher

David Anstee, from Banham, was diagnosed with myeloma, a type of blood cancer that starts in the bone marrow, in June 2018 after experiencing a lack of energy, exhaustion and a painful back and hips.

The 58-year-old jumped at the chance of taking part in the clinical trial called MUK9 that is using state-of-the-art genetic profiling and a novel drug regime that is tailored to an individual's genetic subtype.

The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) has recruited the highest number of patients onto the nationwide research study, which is taking place across 40 hospitals and involves 472 patients in total.

The MUK9 bone marrow cancer clinical trial sees David Anstee, from Banham, taking five different drugs. Picture: GettyThe MUK9 bone marrow cancer clinical trial sees David Anstee, from Banham, taking five different drugs. Picture: Getty

Mr Anstee said he already had some knowledge of clinical trials through his work for a scientific instrument company in Cambridge and had no doubts about joining MUK9 when he was offered the chance to take part.

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He said: "Myeloma is incurable, but it is treatable and I have a high risk type of myeloma. My treatment involves taking five different drugs that have not been given in this way before.

"It feels like I'm at the forefront of new treatments for myeloma. I have access to drugs that I would not have access to if I was not this trial, so it was an easy decision to make.

"Because of the treatment I am getting, if the doctors say 'jump', I ask 'how far?' The treatment I am getting has been excellent and I feel a lot better than I was a year ago.

"Being on the trial means I have to give extra bloods and bone marrow biopsies, but that is a very small price to pay."

Mr Anstee is one of 39 patients at NNUH who have been involved in the clinical trial. It is funded jointly by Janssen, Celgene and Myeloma UK and led by the Clinical Trials Research Unit at the University of Leeds.

Victoria Licence, NNUH Clinical Trials Practitioner, said: "We are proud to be involved in this study, which aims to identify the best treatment options for high-risk myeloma patients and a lot of effort and great team work has taken place at NNUH to get to this stage.

"In the end the real winners are of course our patients and the real loser is myeloma."

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