Living with Mesothelioma -My Diary- Im on a Phase 1 trial –Lord Saatchi you would be proud The Royal Marsden. They are really working the way we need all Cancer hospital to work

Well what a day and what a happy day.

Getting up at 5.30am you might think I was mad but that M25 can be a carpark if there is an accident So it was right to leave plenty of time for a 10.30am appointment.

Plus they warned that the car parking was bad at the hospital and fills up.

We set off at 7am and had a lovely ride, even got a good place in the carpark.

This week is the first week of using the hard shoulder as a lane. I can see a huge accident as people can’t get to the laybys when they break down and coming home an army truck broke down so a whole convey of army trucks were pulled over and the soldiers pushing the broken down one into a farm gate.

Hmmm as I say there is going to be a huge accident.

Sorry I have gone of subject.

In the hospital I was asked to wait and then I had to go for a Angiogram and a blood test.

That took some time but we got back to the Out Patients desk and I was then booked in  Two hours after arriving.

I was then weighed and had to wait in a side room and read all the forms about entering a trial -did I want to -did my family agree. etc etc

A nice young woman came in and explained what phase one trial were. Oh dear I know all that and have researched so much. I kno the risk Im taking but what else is there for me.

Then Jan came in. She will be my CINS (cancer nurse) it will be I will phone if I have any problems. She said my blood is Ok but my Potassium is high so no Bananas etc etc.

I said should I diet and watch my weight that has gone up and she said it is so rare for that to happen so it means you are keeping well and the Cancer hasn’t got a hold of your appetite. Carry on and eat cream cakes. Ha ha !!

In came a really lovely Doctor. he explained they offer me a lot of trials but they have a good one and it it did fail dont worry they will find more. This is Innovation -we need Doctors talking like this.

So I have to have my Bi-ops looked at the one at Guys and the one at Honnington.

This Trial MK-3475 is a drug being tested as it blocks the interaction of a substance called PDL-1 with PD Inhibitor. PD-1 is present o the surface of cells of the immune system that fights cancer. However, when these normal surface cells encounter cancer cells PD1 becomes inactive d by PD l1 which is found on the surface of the cancer cells. This has the effect of making the immune cells die or become exhausted, and stopping them from attacking the cancer cells. Blocking PD 1 with MK-3475 means that PDL1 cannot inactivate it and allows the immune system to start attacking the cancer again. Putting it into easy words he said that they have found that tumours  have a switch to turn off   the Immune system and put it to sleep and so the tumour can grow away. We switch the Immune system on and wake it up and they say (come on there is a burglar in the house. destroy )

This study will assess the efficacy and safety of MK-3475 administered to participants with incurable advanced biomarker-positive solid tumors that have not responded to current therapy or for which current therapy is not appropriate. The hypothesis is that administration of MK-3475 to participants with some types of solid tumors will result in a clinically meaningful response rate.

The trial has had good results on Lung and skin cancers. Now they want to try Mesothelioma.

So After a long talk and all questions from Ray sorted I have signed up.

I go back in 3 weeks time for results of their Bi-op testing If Ok I Get the Ok to start.

I go to the hospital once a week.

Participants receive MK-3475 10 mg/kg, intravenously (IV), on Day 1 of every 2-week dosing cycle for up to 24 months I have to visit every week for blood tests and they will scan every 3 months.

After a very long chat about me and my life the CINS nurse had me signing lots more forms and that was it.

We came home feeling very good. Someone has given me hope again and it was a happy journey home. Called in for shopping and came home to a love coffee.

We are relaxed again.

One thing is its not a Randomised Trial, Its not a Placebo so That pleases me.

Drug Development Unit

Drug Development Unit

The Drug Development Unit at The Royal Marsden provides a seamless conduit between preclinical drug discovery, proof-of-principle Phase I trials and tumour-specific evaluation of novel agents. It facilitates essential two-way collaboration between laboratory-based and clinical teams.

Close to 300 patients per year enter Phase I trials on the Unit, making it one of the largest in the world. In 2006, it achieved ‘Outstanding’ grading for previous and future work at a CRUK Quinquennial Site Visit.

It is led by Professor Johann de Bono and staffed jointly by the ICR’s Section of Medicine and Cancer Research UK Centre for Cancer Therapeutics.

The Drug Development Unit is part of the team that was awarded the prestigious American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Team Science Award in 2012.

Find out more in our video on the Unit:

My New Doctor talking

Clinical trials

Clinical trials are conducted by Professor Stan KayeDr Udai Banerjiand Professor Johann de Bono. These involve studies of novel agents with new molecular targets, and a major theme for the Unit is the identification of predictive and pharmacodynamic biomarkers (including extensive studies with circulating tumour cells).

Examples of trials include studies with the oral PARP inhibitor, olaparib, and the CYP-17 inhibitor, abiraterone. These drugs are expected to make a major impact on HR (homologous recombination)-deficient cancers and hormone-refractory prostate cancer, respectively.

Oak Ward

The Drug Development Unit is based in Oak Ward, which is specifically designed for Phase I clinical trials. The Unit opened in February 2005, and comprises ten inpatient beds, five treatment chairs and two outpatient suites. There are also laboratory facilities for sample preparation and storage, and a seminar room.

A ward-based team of research nurses is able to provide 24-hour cover five days a week (for pharmacokinetic blood sampling, observations etc), and more than 30 concurrent studies are now under way.

Cancer Therapeutics and Medicine sections

In addition, the Drug Development Unit has a team of data managers, research nurses and clinical staff from the Cancer Therapeutics and Medicine. Pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic studies are conducted by Dr Florence Raynaud and Dr Michelle Garrett, respectively, in the GCLP-compliant laboratories within Cancer Therapeutics.


The Unit is supported by Cancer Research UK, the Department of Health and The Royal Marsden through a core programme grant, and through funding as an Experimental Medicine Cancer Centre (ECMC) and NIHR Biomedical Research Centre. Novel agents developed under the aegis of Cancer Research UK are prioritised for trial in the Unit.

Rays Blog


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