Update from The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity
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.
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.