National cancer network improving access to life-saving drugs

Doctors at UHS have launched a national trials network for cancer patients.

The Trust is one of 13 centres in the Trials Acceleration Programme, funded by Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research, which connects blood cancer trials across the UK.

Collaboration between hospitals will accelerate the recruitment of patients into clinical trials so potentially life-saving drugs can be accessed more quickly and their effectiveness assessed.

Through this programme, six new trials will be available at Southampton this year, which will give patients with a range of blood cancers further options if their current treatment fails or is unsuitable.

The first trial gives local patients suffering from conditions that cause increased blood clotting and bleeding - Polycythaemia Vera (PV) and Essential Thromobocythaemia (ET) – access to a promising new drug called Ruxolitinib.

Around 20% of patients with PV and ET do not respond or are unable to tolerate current treatments and the only other options available carry a significantly increased risk of severe side effects.

Such patients will now have access to Ruxolitinib which has been shown to considerably improve abnormal blood counts and related symptoms leading to a much improved quality of life.

Dr Andrew Davies, senior lecturer and consultant oncologist, said: “We are all very excited that Southampton is part of this network. It is so important that patients with these serious but relatively rare blood disorders have access to the latest, most suitable drugs to improve their quality of life and life-expectancy.

"By working together as a UK network we will rapidly see how important these new drugs are in improving outcomes for patients."

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