Royal Marsden update

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.”