CANCER patients taking part in revolutionary clinical trials say they have helped extend their lives - and could benefit fellow sufferers in the future.
Stephen Ryszka and Chris Chapman - who both have multiple myeloma, or bone marrow cancer - spoke about their experiences as politicians were given an insight into the groundbreaking medical discoveries at Sheffield’s Cancer Research Centre.
The men have undergone clinical trials as part of their treatment and hope it could help researchers move closer to a cure.
Dad-of-two Stephen, aged 57, of Norton Lees, said: “I was on chemotherapy but I didn’t respond very well, it was making me ill and I was admitted to hospital quite a few times as an emergency – on at least one occasion it was very close.
“I then had a stem cell transplant and was asked if I’d like to take part in the trial. I jumped at it.
“To be selfish, it’s given me more chances and I think anyone in my position would have done the same.
“It also helps me and other patients because it’s developing new treatments.” The trial, where Stephen had a new kind of chemotherapy by injection, worked and he now takes tablets at home to control the disease. He said: “It extended my life as well. When I was first diagnosed, my aim was to see my kids graduate and I have seen one so far. Hopefully I will the second.”
Chris Chapman, 69, and his wife Sandra moved back to Thorpe Hesley from Lancaster after he was diagnosed with the rarest form of myeloma.
He currently takes tablets as part of the trial.
He said: “If any trial will help me that is good news, but also it is going to help other people in the future which is even better news.
The research must continue, that’s the important part. I’d take part in another trial, no problem.”
The centre has been open about 18 months and involves the University of Sheffield, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, Yorkshire Cancer Research, Weston Park Cancer Hospital and Cancer Research UK.
Clinical trials of targeted therapy for women who are predispositioned to breast cancer are in the second phase thanks to science research at the facility.
And pioneering work at the centre, including the mimicking of diseases in zebra fish and research on fruit flies which could lead to useful developments for human treatments, was highlighted at Friday’s event.
Sheffield Central MP Paul Blomfield, with Yorkshire MEPS Linda McAvan and Rebecca Taylor, were given a guided tour of centre, based at Sheffield University Medical School, Beech Hill Road, Broomhill, as part of it.
Ms McAvan said she was ‘impressed’ by the centre. She said: “We are very lucky to have it in Yorkshire.”
Mr Blomfield said: “It was another reminder that Sheffield is the centre of some really groundbreaking medical research.”