Research funded by the OCF delivered positive initial results recently when native Corkonian Dr Declan Soden, who is leading the project, revealed some very promising indicators after early trials of a new technology. The tech, which was developed at the Cork Cancer Research Centre has now completed an OCF-funded trial, Phase I, for use in the treatment of Oesophageal Cancer specifically.
The system Dr Soden and his colleagues developed is a world first in the treatment of Oesophageal Cancer, by which a short burst of electrical energy is delivered directly to the tumour via an endoscopic device. This energy burst makes the tumour “leaky” and allows for greatly improved take-up of chemotherapy.
In previous clinical studies with this technology in other cancers – colorectal and skin cancer– they have seen excellent results, even in those previously unresponsive to chemotherapy or radiotherapy.
Dr Soden is very hopeful that this technology advance will help greatly in improving Oesophageal Cancer patients’ quality of life. “OCF fundraising has allowed us to bring a new endoscopic outpatient treatment to patients,” he said. “As a result of this support we have started treating patients in a clinical trial with excellent results so far.”
“Improving patients’ quality of life is our goal,” he continued, “and the OCF has enabled us to bring this new treatment to the patients that need it most. The OCF has had a tremendously positive impact in raising awareness of Oesophageal Cancer, connecting survivors and in supporting innovative research.”
We must point out that there’s still a long road ahead. In data provided by the National Cancer Registry, Dublin has seen almost a doubling in Oesophageal Cancer diagnoses over the last 20 years, with major increases also observed in North Tipperary, Wexford and Waterford. Internationally, the reported incidence of Oesophageal Cancer in the western world has risen over four-fold in the last 30 years.
“The OCF could not do this without the generosity and support of the public. They receive no other funding and rely entirely on the public supporting Lollipop Day and its many other activities throughout the year,” said Dr Soden. “