A blacksmith is living life to the full at the age of 72 after being treated for a rare cancer, thanks to a drug trial at specialist cancer hospital The Christie.
Glynne Davies, from Nantwich, credits taking telotristat with halting the debilitating effects of treatment for his condition and says it has allowed him to live a normal life and go back to work full-time.
Glynne was diagnosed in 2004 with a rare type of small bowel neuroendocrine tumour (NET) that had spread to his liver. Neuroendocrine tumours grow in cells that make hormones. They appear primarily in spots such as the pancreas, stomach, intestines or lungs.
One of the effects he suffered from his illness was extreme carcinoid syndrome diarrhoea, and he was unable to leave his house for weeks on end, meaning he could not work or socialise.
Telotristat comes in the form of a prescription pill for carcinoid syndrome diarrhoea in adults. Carcinoid syndrome is a group of symptoms in people with some neuroendocrine tumors. The symptoms are caused by too much serotonin in the blood stream, from the tumour in the gut and the liver. Some of the most common symptoms of carcinoid syndrome are diarrhoea, facial flushing and tissue fibrosis or heart valve damage. This can lead to heart disease.
Telotristat is a serotonin inhibitor which reduces the overproduction of serotonin inside neuroendocrine tumor cells, and this can mean much less diarrhoea.
Following the clinical trial in which Glynne participated at the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Manchester Clinical Research Facility at The Christie, the drug has now been licensed to allow many more people to benefit.
Glynne, who lives with wife Gillian, runs an ironwork company with a partner and works up to 12 hours a day, six days a week. He attends The Christie for regular scans and check-ups. He attributes his survival in part to his attitude to work.
He says: “I never really felt unwell due to the cancer, but the effects of the diarrhoea were very troublesome. Now, thanks to the trial I can work and I don’t plan to stop. I may be still working full time at 72 but the medics say it must be helping and not to change anything!”
Glynne’s consultant, Professor Juan Valle, honorary consultant in medical oncology at The Christie, said: “The severe diarrhoea associated with carcinoid syndrome can have a debilitating impact on patients’ lives, often preventing them from living a normal life.
“I’m delighted that Glynne responded so well on this important clinical trial. His involvement has helped to ensure that this drug is now available for fellow cancer patients to use to relieve symptoms that make everyday life intolerable.
“The many clinical trials that take place here at The Christie are vital in ensuring that the very best – often groundbreaking treatments are available to cancer patients in the future.”
The Christie NHS Foundation Trust has been ranked ‘Outstanding’ by the health regulator the Care Quality Commission (CQC) which referred to it as ‘exceptional’ and ‘a leader in its field’. It not only commended the Trust for its effectiveness and care, but highlighted its work in shaping the future of cancer care and noted the reach and influence of its clinical research projects. The CQC also rated The Christie the best specialist trust in the country, and one of the top three trusts overall in England.