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Without a landmark immunotherapy trial at The Royal Marsden, Pam says she “wouldn’t have stood a chance”.
Pam Smith was devastated when she was told she had melanoma, a skin cancer. Her only option was to go on a landmark immunotherapy trial at The Royal Marsden. Without it, she says she “wouldn’t have stood a chance”.
“In the past, metastatic melanoma was regarded as untreatable,” says Professor James Larkin, Consultant Medical Oncologist at The Royal Marsden. Typically, people tended to live between six and nine months after diagnosis.
“My tumour shrank to less than half its original size”
The trial investigated two immunotherapy drugs – ipilimumab and nivolumab – which are designed to enhance the immune system and let it attack cancer. The results showed that more than half of those taking both drugs were still alive after five years. And that included Pam.
“I’d been having treatment every two weeks for about four months,” she says. “Amazingly, the first scan and every scan since has shown that in that relatively short time, it worked. My tumour shrank to less than half its original size and it hasn’t changed in five years. I’ve not had any treatment since and I feel brilliant.”
“I feel well and very lucky to be alive, and to be able to spend time with my eight grandchildren.”
The Oak Cancer Centre will help speed up the development of new treatments
The building of the Oak Cancer Centre will enable a huge leap forward by bringing over 400 of our leading clinical researchers together, helping to speed up the development of new treatments.
New treatments developed at the Oak Cancer Centre will not only help Royal Marsden patients like Pam, but patients across the UK and around the world too.