39-year-old builder Krzysztof Wojkowski realised he had cancer of the salivary glands in 2017. Since then he has had multiple treatments and therapies, but none seemed to show long-lasting benefits and the problem pursued. He was given the opportunity to take part in a phase one trial by Institute of Cancer Research and the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust.
He said: "I was told there was no options left for me and I was receiving end-of-life care. It was devastating, so it was incredible to be given the chance to join the trial."
“both volunteer groups appeared to have benefits as a result of the trial“
His cancer seems to have been cured after a brief round of viral treatment, which employs a highly modified form herpes.
"I had injections every two weeks for five weeks which completely eradicated my cancer. I've been cancer-free for two years now."
The trial included 40 patients who had undergone the therapy. A number of them received RP2, a pure dose of the virus, whereas others were given Nivolumab, which is another cancer medication, in addition to RP2.
Both groups appeared to have benefits as a result of the trial. One third of individuals given pure RP2, including Krzysztof, saw a reduction in the size of their tumours. 23.3% who were treated using the combination of both therapies noted seeing a positive difference.
Kevin Harrington, lead researcher of the trial, described the outcomes as "truly impressive", covering a variety of cancers deemed to be incurable.
He expressed that "it is rare to see such good response rates in early stage clinical trials, as their primary aim is to test treatment safety, and they involve patients with very advanced cancers for whom current treatments have stopped working."
Dr Marianne Baker, who works for Cancer Research UK, commented that the basic theory is nothing ground-breaking, "scientists discovered that viruses could help to treat cancer 100 years ago, but it's been challenging to harness them safely and effectively. This new viral therapy shows promise - now we need more studies to find out how well it works.”
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