Top US ex­pert gives can­cer bat­tle hope

Evening Times - - NEWS - BY CAROLINE WIL­SON

AGLASGOW hair­dress­ing boss whose daugh­ter was di­ag­nosed with lung can­cer at 29 has paid trib­ute to her “amaz­ing” courage as the fam­ily pin their hopes on a US trial.

Michelle Han­lon, whose dad Billy owns Hair by Han­lon on Great West­ern Road, was fea­tured in the Glas­gow Times three years ago af­ter be­ing di­ag­nosed with ad­vanced, squa­mous non-small cell lung can­cer (NSCLC) at just 29, hav­ing never smoked.

Four years on, Michelle, 34, who worked as a hair­dresser in her dad’s sa­lon, has now run out of treat­ment op­tions in the UK.

How­ever, the team lead­ing a ground-break­ing trial at Stan­ford Univer­sity in Cal­i­for­nia have said they will con­sider Michelle’s case.

The study is be­ing led by Ron­ald Levy, con­sid­ered a pi­o­neer in the field of im­munother­apy, which har­nesses the body’s own im­mune sys­tem to kill can­cer cells.

Sci­en­tists in­jected minute amounts of two im­munes­tim­u­lat­ing agents di­rectly into solid tu­mours in mice and found that the com­bi­na­tion elim­i­nated all traces of can­cer in the an­i­mals. The tech­nique is now be­ing tri­alled on can­cer pa­tients.

Billy, who is from Bish­op­briggs, said: “I am con­stantly look­ing at things on­line. You just grab at any­thing that might work.

“Stan­ford Uni were the first over two years ago to dis­cover that each of these two com­pounds has anti-can­cer ef­fects but the com­bi­na­tion of the two of them could be a cure.

“When they did it with an­i­mals they were get­ting a 97% rate and they are now tri­alling it on pa­tients.

“Michelle’s on­col­o­gist con­tacted the peo­ple in charge of the trial a cou­ple of months ago and they said they would con­sider Michelle.

“We have to send them her de­tails and all her scan re­sults.

“Michelle is not on any treat­ment now, she’s had eight dif­fer­ent treat­ments and the last thing she had was some ra­dio­ther­apy on her brain.”

Scot­land’s in­ci­dence rates of lung can­cer are amongst the high­est in the world. It is the big­gest can­cer killer in the coun­try, ac­count­ing for one-quar­ter of all can­cer deaths in 2014.

When Michelle was di­ag­nosed she ben­e­fit­ted from a ground­break­ing new im­munother­apy drug, Nivolumab, which al­lowed her to re­turn to hair­dress­ing. How­ever, she has now had to give up work.

Billy said: “Michelle has lost a lot of her mo­bil­ity but she has been amaz­ing. She never changes. She’s been fan­tas­tic the whole way through.”

While the fam­ily would not be ex­pected to foot the bill for treat­ment in the US if Michelle is ac­cepted on to the trial, they will still face a heavy fi­nan­cial cost to travel to the states.

Billy said: “In­sur­ance is a night­mare. We are now in a world where one in two peo­ple gets can­cer yet the costs for in­sur­ing some­one with can­cer to travel are as­tro­nom­i­cal.

“About three years ago we went to Spain and they wanted over £1000 for her to go. We didn’t pay it, we de­cided to take a chance, we had our Euro­pean med­i­cal card if she had an ac­ci­dent and we de­cided if she got ill we would just fly home.”

Michelle Han­lon’s dad praised her re­silience as she bat­tles lung can­cer

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.