Velindre Cancer Centre is celebrating its 20th year of running clinical trials for patients in Wales.
The Cancer Centre in Whitchurch, Cardiff, facilitates the safe treatment of patients in phase one, two and three studies.
Phase one studies provide a research-based treatment option of new treatment therapies to cancer patients with few or no other treatment options. These treatments have not previously been tried and tested.
To mark the 20 year anniversary, an informative video to raise awareness of clinical trials at Velindre has been created for patients and the public.
Clinical Trials Unit team photo
The video, launched today (Thursday 28th November), has been posted on the Velindre Cancer Centre YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/velindrecc
Twenty years ago just three staff launched the Clinical Trials Unit at Velindre Cancer Centre and it has since grown to such an extent that 34 professionals are now involved in running the unit and supporting patients who take part in trials.
Since 1994, more than 9,700 Velindre Cancer Centre patients have been recruited to take part in a variety of trials, some of which have contributed to the development of standard cancer treatments. For example, Velindre has participated in trials for drugs including Herceptin (now routinely used to treat breast cancer) and Abiraterone (one of the standard treatments for prostate cancer).
Although Velindre NHS Trust has now run clinical trials of novel cancer therapies for two decades, last year it opened a new Clinical Research Treatment Unit at Velindre Cancer Centre which offers patients access to a range of cutting edge phase 1 clinical trials.
Specialist research nurse with patient Alan Buckle, aged 72, from Radyr, was diagnosed with incurable prostate cancer in 2005 and is taking part in his third clinical trial at Velindre Cancer Centre.
He said: “I reached the point in 2012 where I had received all the conventional treatments for my prostate cancer including hormone injections, radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
“New treatments for this disease are thin on the ground so I was delighted to be offered the chance to become a phase 1 trial patient at the new well-equipped trial facility at the Velindre Cancer Centre.
“At the centre you receive first class treatment from all the staff and there is a sense that your are participating in the development of what may be the next approved treatment for your disease.”
Susanne Jones, aged 50, from Barry, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006 and this year became the first person in the world to trial a new drug combination which doctors hope could help women with breast cancer.
She said: “I had no hesitation signing up for the clinical trial when I was told about it by my oncologist.
“Without clinical trials like this one we wouldn’t be able to find the drugs of the future. If a new treatment comes from it then all the better.”
Delyth Roberts, aged 52, from Carmarthen, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005. She was living in Cardiff at the time and became a patient of Velindre Cancer Centre, where she began taking part in a trial in 2013.
She said: “The trial offered me the opportunity to have my cancer controlled and to perhaps live a bit longer and my cancer has not progressed since.
“The clinical trials staff at Velindre Cancer Centre are incredible and have supported me through the whole process.”
Prostate cancer patient Roger Evans, aged 70, from Brecon, has been on a trial at Velindre for just over a year.
He said: “I have found my clinical trial to be very beneficial to myself and hopefully to other people. I like the fact that my trial is contributing to future research into prostate cancer.
“I have received first class treatment with excellent follow-ups from my consultant and his team at Velindre Cancer Centre.”
Professor Peter Barrett-Lee, Medical Director of Velindre NHS Trust, joined the Trust in the same year as Velindre NHS Trust opened its doors to clinical trials.
He said: “I’m delighted to be celebrating 20 years of high quality research and clinical trials at Velindre Cancer Centre.
“Research remains a top priority for Velindre NHS Trust and our Clinical Research Treatment Unit ensures patients in South East and South West Wales have access to a centre for cancer clinical trials.
“This centre reduces the burden on patients who otherwise would have to travel further afield to take part in trials investigating the newest drugs.”
Dr Tom Crosby, Clinical Director of Velindre Cancer Centre, said: “Participation in high quality research is a priority for Velindre; our staff and most importantly the patients we serve. High levels of research activity have helped establish Velindre as a Cancer Centre of Excellence and a number of our clinicians are UK-wide research leaders.
“The last 20 years have laid a fantastic platform on which to develop a World Class service for the next 20 years.”
For more information on Clinical Trials at Velindre, please visit the Research section of the Velindre Cancer Centre website: http://www.velindrecc.wales.nhs.uk/research