Receive a FREE Mesothelioma Treatment
Information Packet

Mesothelioma

New Hope

Byline: By Jane Picken Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England), May 9, 2006

Trials of cancer drug may boost its power

Medics at a Tyneside cancer research centre are working to improve the drug Alimta.

It is hoped the new form of Alimta, which can be used to tackle asbestos-related cancer mesothelioma, could mean more patients are treated.

The Newcastle University team who first developed the drug now wants to pin-point exactly what makes certain patients respond better to Alimta.

And they are hoping to get funding from local charity the Mick Knighton Mesothelioma Research Fund through the British Lung Foundation, which has pledged more than pounds 100,000 to finding a cure for the illness.

Prof Hilary Calvert, clinical director of the Northern Institute for Cancer Research, who is leading the team, said: "We know around half of patients respond really well to Alimta. What we want to do is pinpoint what it is in the tumour which responds so well to it and this in turn will tell us which patients will benefit more from it.

"If we get the funding we can start clinical trials on this new way of using Alimta and in the long run it could make the use of Alimta far more effective."

Thousands of North East cancer sufferers were given the chance to get life-extending Alimta free of charge following a Chronicle campaign last year.

Within days of launching our Give Us A Chance campaign in December, almost 2,000 people had signed petitions.

The Northern Cancer Network then announced mesothelioma sufferers in the region would be able to get the chemotherapy drug earlier this year.

Previously, asbestos victims in the North East faced paying up to pounds 24,000 at private hospitals while patients in Liverpool, Scotland and London could get it for free.

Former Alimta patient Arthur Tiffin, from Walbottle, Newcastle, is campaigning with best pal Billy Patterson to raise money for this research after being diagnosed with mesothelioma.

The father-of-two had another setback with his health when doctors in London discovered he had blood clots on his lungs after an emergency scan.

"I'm really fighting to get funding which could go towards this new form of Alimta because it will give so many people hope," said Arthur, 52.

"We're lobbying companies and members of the public to donate and help those who will be affected by asbestos-related cancer in the future.

"On Saturday night alone we bagged pounds 3,200 from a charity night at West Denton Social Club and that will go straight to the Mick Knighton Mesothelioma Research Fund.

"Alimta hasn't worked for me and I'm running out of time but if I can keep plugging away then it will be worthwhile."

The Fund was set up by widow Christine Knighton, from Wallsend, after her husband Mick died from the cancer in 2001.

"Since we began four years ago we've raised pounds 156,000 which has gone straight towards tackling mesothelioma," said Christine, 59.

"And now we're well on the way to raising another pounds 100,000 for important projects such as the one Prof Calvert is leading."

To find out more about the Mick Knighton Fund or make a donation contact Christine on (0191) 263 7386 or email chrisknighton@mkmrf. freeserve.co.uk