A Sheffield patient has become the first in the world to take part in a new drug research trial.
The study aims to better control secondary breast cancer, or cancer which has spread to other parts of the body including the bones, liver and lungs for longer.
Ellen Paling, aged 44, of Chapeltown, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2002 just a year after her daughter, now 13, was born, says that since taking part in the international MANTA study, the disease has remained stable with no new areas of spread.
The cancer – which has reoccurred twice since 2002, once in February 2012 and again in 2014 – was diagnosed as metastatic breast cancer almost three years ago.
Metastatic breast cancer is an incurable disease, which may affect patients many years after their initial breast cancer diagnosis. Although there are many treatments for the disease the benefits with each one are only temporary – and typically last only a few months, or a year or two.
Ellen said: “Treatments for breast cancer have come a long way since I was first diagnosed with the disease.
“This clinical trial has helped me think it’s not yet the end of the line.”
Until she retired earlier this year, Ellen worked as a research nurse at the Northern General Hospital – so when she was offered the opportunity to take part in a clinical trial, starting in April 2014, she felt it was the right thing to do.
The MANTA study is led by Prof Peter Schmid, Centre for Experimental Cancer Medicine, Barts Cancer Institute, Queen Mary University of London, in partnership with hospitals across Europe – including Sheffield’s Weston Park Hospital.
Researchers taking part in the study are pioneering the use of a new drug, called a dual mTOR inhibitor, that is designed to block one of the pathways that causes cancerous cells to divide and grow.
The international trial could be pivotal in helping to find new treatments that will control secondary breast cancer more often and that will also last longer.