International Clinical Trials Day 2022

20 May 2022

We are joining the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) in celebrating International Clinical Trials Day 2022 and saying thank you to all those involved in clinical trials.

A team photo of lead research nurses.
Pictured: A group photo of a team of Royal Marsden lead research nurses celebrating International Clinical Trials Day.

Launched in 2005, International Clinical Trials Day (ICTD) commemorates the first clinical trial led by James Lind, a Scottish naval surgeon, who investigated the causes of scurvy and laid the foundation for modern clinical research.

This year, as part of the NIHR's TrialBlazer campaign, we are celebrating those who take part, are involved in, or support research. 

Each day, volunteers at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust and The Institute of Cancer Research are helping researchers to discover more effective, kinder cancer treatments. 

A second chance through a trial

A photo of Arthur with his wife

Arthur (pictured above with his wife) was diagnosed with stage four oesophageal cancer in July 2020 and is currently taking part in the PLATFORM study at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust.  

The trial is looking at giving more treatment options to people with oesophageal or stomach cancer that can’t be removed after initial treatment.

As part of the clinical trial, Arthur is currently taking an inhibitor drug called rucaparib, a type of targeted treatment. Rucaparib treatment blocks a protein that helps cancer cells repair themselves which aims to stop the cancer from growing.

Arthur’s cancer has not grown in nearly two years since he started taking rucaparib. Being on the PLATFORM trial has enabled Arthur to return to his normal life and his passion of martial arts.

“My cancer journey has been a real rollercoaster ride, but thanks to the team at The Royal Marsden I have been able to return to my greatest passion, martial arts. I can go out to eat, walk my dog every day, travel and do pretty much everything I was able to do before my diagnosis. The doctors, nurses and wider staff are all fantastic and they have given me my life back. The staff really make you feel like you are part of a family and the hospital previously saved my wife of 50 years, Susan, after she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

“I am a great believer in medical research, so my message to anyone considering taking part in a clinical trial is: just do it! You will be well looked after, doing your bit to help wider society and it may even save your life one day.”

The PLATFORM trial is sponsored by The Royal Marsden and supported by the NIHR Clinical Research Network South London and the NIHR BRC at The Royal Marsden and ICR. MedImmune and Merrimack Pharmaceuticals have funded the trial.

Discovering a more effective approach to treatment

Julie with daughter Nicole

Julie (pictured above with daughter Nicola) was diagnosed with stage 3 ovarian cancer in 2001 aged 47 after experiencing breathing difficulties. Initially diagnosed with pneumonia at her local hospital, Julie’s lungs filled with fluid while on holiday in Miami, where she received her diagnosis. 

She was referred to The Royal Marsden for treatment and was told that she had six weeks to live if the chemotherapy didn’t work.

Fortunately, it did work and Julie was then treated with chemotherapy for five years – five different types of chemotherapy - until she was told it was no longer killing the cancer.

She then started a clinical trial and, in 2007, after discovering she had the BRCA gene through genetic testing at The Royal Marsden, she began her second trial at The Royal Marsden and The Institute of Cancer Research, London, for a PARP inhibitor called Olaparib.

20 years on, Julie is doing well and, in this time, has seen both her children get married and six grandchildren born. Her most recent scan showed that, for the first time since her diagnosis, she is completely cancer free. She said:

“I am feeling better than I have ever felt before. I deal with my situation by focusing on the fact that I don’t feel ill, though the unknown is difficult to deal with. The five years of chemotherapy was very hard. I lost my hair three times and most of my teeth and my nails were falling out. But I’m still here and might not be if I hadn’t had gone through chemotherapy.

“The research undertaken at The Royal Marsden means inspiration. I don’t know when, but one day my body will probably get immune to this drug and there will hopefully be something in line to take its place. If the cancer comes back again, I know my healthcare team will look after and do their best for me.”

Be Part of Research

Are you interested in taking part in a clinical trial? Discover what trials are currently running across the UK on the NIHR's Be Part of Research website.