— The Josh Carrick Foundation

An interview with Dr Pule about his lab’s pioneering immunotherapy work at UCL Cancer Institute that the Josh Carrick Foundation is helping to fund.

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Update from The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity

Dr Robert Huddart

Your generous gifts support the life-changing testicular cancer research driven by world-leading experts at The Royal Marsden. We are very grateful to The Josh Carrick Foundation, and to everyone who fundraises for and donates to the Foundation throughout the year. Thanks to you, we are able to continue innovating kinder, more effective treatments for this disease.
It is with great pleasure that we provide an update on the progress Professor Robert Huddart has been able to make with the Platinum Study over the past few months.

The Platinum Study

In the UK, the number of people diagnosed with testicular cancer is projected to rise by 12% over the next 20 years. The prognosis for patients is continuing to improve, largely thanks to the continued development of effective treatments like the chemotherapy drug, cisplatin. Therefore, it is more important than ever that we ensure all patients can enjoy the best quality of life in their survivorship years.

Through The Platinum Study, Professor Huddart and his team aim to examine the long-term health of men who have been treated for testicular cancer with cisplatin chemotherapy. Specifically, the study is exploring ototoxicity (damage to the ear, affecting hearing and balance) and neurotoxicity (damage to the nervous system, causing numbness or affecting the brain) resulting from cisplatin.
As part of their participation in the study, patients provide a blood sample, complete a questionnaire on their quality of life, allow vital signs to be collected, and attend a hearing test. The research team will then analyse each patients’ genetic makeup and the side effects they are experiencing from treatment. They hope to be able to identify the genes that are associated with severe side effects, in order to help doctors determine which patients should receive cisplatin, and which would benefit from an alternative treatment.

Our progress so far

A large number of the patient population who attend our testicular cancer clinic are eligible for the study and we have been able to consistently recruit four to five patients each week. Patients are keen to participate and share their experiences of the treatment and the side effects they have experienced. Since the study opened in March 2016, we have now recruited nearly 150 participants. Despite starting recruitment two years after our partners in the United States, we are proud to be one of the highest recruiters in the study.

Early results have documented high levels of cisplatin-induced hearing problems in patients with a particular gene. Excitingly, this means that in the future, doctors could use this information to avoid prescribing cisplatin to people who carry this gene, thus saving them from suffering hearing problems later in life.

Our next steps

In order to reach our target recruitment, we have recently received approval to extend the study to July 2018. Furthermore, Professor Huddart is currently speaking with the lead institution in the United States, to discuss potentially extending the study for an additional five years. This will enable the international research teams to gather a vast evidence base, develop their work further, and, ultimately, have a more significant impact on how treatment decisions are made for individual patients.

Thank you

As a specialist cancer hospital with an international reputation, we have a responsibility to innovate and ensure that we continue to drive forward advances in treatment to give the ever-growing number of cancer patients a greater chance of being cured.

We are making incredible progress and changing countless lives, but none of this is possible without donations from those who are passionate about making a difference and investing in a better future. Thank you for your committed support. Together, we can develop better, kinder treatments for patients at The Royal Marsden and world-wide.

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I woke on Sunday morning with the dreaded “maranoia”. The fear that I couldn’t do it was very real! Needless to say, once I was up and I’d tucked into a race worthy breakfast that feeling began to subside. The realisation that I was about to do something big for a very worthy cause was all the motivation I needed, knowing I was the only runner out of tens of thousands representing this amazing foundation filled me with overwhelming emotion – composure was needed!

I jumped in the car kitted out and drove to Baker Street, whilst thinking – this is it, the day has arrived! I parked up no problem, then flagged down a black cab to take me to Cannon Street Station so I could grab my train to Greenwich for the start.
My cab driver was a superstar, being a runner himself he had experienced the marathon before and gave me some helpful tips, most notably “make use of the free Vaseline and enjoy yourself” if this advice was given in any other context it would be sure to raise a few eyebrows!

At Cannon Street, the station was packed out with a variety of people, of all ages, in a multitude of coloured vests and after a cursory look around the majority were running for charity. Everyone had a smile on their faces, admittedly some more nervous than others but we all had the same purpose. To get around the 26.2 miles (making use of the free Vaseline) to do our charities, friends and family proud….

Packed like Lemmings we all exited the train and took the ten minute walk to the start line. I had never seen so many people!
Everyone did their individual prep, stretching, kissing a loved one goodbye or eating a banana – My personal choice involved taking selfies to send to my friends as proof that I was actually there!
I got completely swept up in the atmosphere….at the start line people were telling me they were looking to complete it in under 3.30hrs, sub 4, sub 5hrs. I thought am I in the wrong place, is this the elite runners start line??! Shall I move to the back? Then I turned around and saw a 7ft gingerbread man! Phew, I’ll be ok!

And so, to the race itself – I won’t lie, it wasn’t pretty, I had to really dig deep and thanks to my inner determination, more strapping than Jordan and remembering why I was running this marathon I popped in my headphones selected my playlist, raised up my head and put one foot in front of the other.
The atmosphere was electric, the crowd were better than any football/rugby match I have been too, supporting and encouraging every runner. I devoured every jelly bean, sweet and bit of chocolate I could get my hands on as well as drank what felt like my body weight in water.

My family were at mile 14, my mum almost jumped into the race itself and seeing them for the first time that day I had to use all my will power to hold it together. They were there again at mile 19 and 23!
At mile 21 I really started to flag, my body was screaming for me to stop but my head kept saying keep going – think of the money you’re raising, all the support you’ve had – so I dug deep and plodded on, and I mean plodded. The fact I was overtaken by a Green Dragon with pink spots at mile 24, admittedly added to my sudden sense of urgency and desire to get to the finish line. And I did, in a respectable 5hrs 31mins….!

To sum the day up it was a mind over matter battle and a complete emotional rollercoaster. One that I am extremely proud of and to know that I have helped raise awareness and money for a cause so close to my heart is something I will cherish for a very long time.

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Here are a few pics from our wonderful Hackney Half runners Tom Phillips, Amy Cook and Paul Wood.

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World Cancer Day 2017

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Don’t miss out – get your tickets!

Great play supporting the Josh Carrick Foundation!

www.ticketsource.co.uk/impacttheatrecompany

#takesballs

Full Monty

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Update Report: The Platinum Study

While we are close to achieving 95 per cent cure rates for testicular cancer, it is more important than ever that we ensure survivors are able to enjoy a good quality of life beyond cancer. The highly effective anti-cancer drug, cisplatin, is routinely prescribed to testicular cancer patients. However, some of its side-effects can have a detrimental effect to patients in their survivorship years. The more significant side-effects include losing the senses of taste and hearing, permanent numbness in fingers and toes, and kidney damage. For many patients, this can significantly impact on their ability to maintain employment or cause them to become heavily reliant upon healthcare for the rest of their lives.

In the Platinum Study, Professor Huddart and his team are investigating the more severe side-effects experienced by patients with the aim of identifying which DNA variations are associated with the toxicity caused by cisplatin. The goal is to develop a robust description of cisplatin-induced symptoms, as well as genetic screening toolkits to predict which patients will experience symptoms before they receive treatment. This will allow doctors to adapt the treatment accordingly to create a more personalised plan for each patient.

Our expert staff
At the beginning of January 2016, Ms Kay Ling joined Professor Huddart on a part-time basis. As Data Manager, Ms Ling is co-ordinating and organising the trial, including recruiting patients and collating data.

The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity and the Biomedical Research Centre have provided additional funding for the trial’s Research Nurse. We are pleased to report that Ms Bernadette Johnson has been appointed to this role. Ms Johnson will support Ms Ling in recruiting, collecting, and processing blood samples as well as provide senior oversight and support.

Our patient recruitment progress so far
Ms Ling was instrumental in preparing the necessary documents to achieve ethical approvals to open the study, which launched as planned in March 2016. Each participant is asked to complete a questionnaire about their background and current health, supply a blood test, provide vital signs and undergo a hearing test.

We have established that a large number of the patient population who attend our weekly testicular cancer clinic are eligible for the study. Patient response has been excellent so far, with many keen to participate and share their experiences of chemotherapy.

Since the study opened, we have recruited on average four to five patients per week and currently have 95 enrolled. We are confident we will reach our target of recruiting 100 participants by the end of 2016 and are working towards our study target total of 400-600 participants.

A future beyond cancer
Each patient deserves the very best treatment and care we can give and we are proud of the pioneering work led by Professor Huddart and his team at The Royal Marsden.

The results of this study will contribute to a higher standard of care, where treatments are better directed to ensure survivors are able to enjoy life beyond cancer. We also hope our work will inspire the development of less toxic treatments for future patients.

It is only thanks to The Josh Carrick Foundation, and your passionate fundraisers and supporters, that we are able to continue this vital research, and for that we remain sincerely grateful.

A message from Professor Huddart:

Dr Robert Huddart

“This study has the potential to change the lives of testicular cancer patients around the world, but none of our work would be possible without the generous support of The Josh Carrick Foundation and all your incredible fundraisers and donors. Thank you so much.”

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Such a great day!

We began with a ritual burger the night before, headed off from Clapham Common in the morning and wound our way out of London through bizarrely traffic-free streets. Some parts were scary (anything downhill!), some parts were hard going (anything uphill, Ditchling Beacon!), all of the countryside was unquestionably beautiful.

A great lunch at Turner’s Hill split the ride into two manageable stretches – seeing a field full of hungry cyclists tucking in gives you a real sense of the care and enthusiasm everybody has for their respective causes. This feeling was only strengthened by the constant encouragement and banter between the riders and by the patience and concern shown by most of the drivers who passed us.

Despite taking a 10 mile detour and arriving an hour later than expected I was seen in by a cheering crowd and by my family. I decided to jump off and let my eldest son do the final stretch… I asked him what he thought of it and he replied: “being on the bike was fantastic”. I hope he was impressed by my efforts as well!

Post dip in the sea, long soak in the bath, and celebratory drink and I still walk like a cowboy – but this is easily ignored when I think about all of the money we’ve raised for such a great cause! Roll on 2017 :)
James Lloyd

Read the skyline and do it for charity event write up here.

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Over the past weekend, Joe Camilleri of the Savills UK Finance team successfully completed the Thames Path Challenge, walking 100km along the Thames Path from Putney Bridge to Henley in aid of The Josh Carrick Foundation.

Joe and his partner Shanan Dunstan (pictured at the 50km mark and at the finish) completed the challenge in 25 hours and 5 minutes. They walked through the heavy rain, cold night and dense fog, battling fatigue and blisters with 2,500 other equally motivated participants.

Between them, Joe and his partner have raised nearly £1,000 for The Josh Carrick Foundation by undertaking this challenge. The timing of the challenge this year proved quite poignant as it coincided with what would have been Josh Carrick’s 28th birthday.

A big thank you to Joe and Shanan from all of us at the Josh Carrick Foundation.

Should you wish to donate, Joe’s fundraising page can be found here

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