David Squires, 64, who was a Carpenter in asbestos, has mesothelioma – a cancer caused by inhaling asbestos dust.
A terminally-ill Carpenter from Cambridgeshire has been given new hope for his future thanks to a cancer drug trial in Leicester. David Squires, 64, used to regularly cut apart pieces of asbestos whilst working in the 1970s.
The fireproofing material was banned in 1999 after the evidence stacked up that its dust caused the lunch disease mesothelioma.
Father-of-three David was signed up for the trial at the University of Leicester‘s Cancer Research Centre and he said he was ‘overjoyed’ by the effect the treatment was having, reducing the size of his three tumour areas in his lungs.
The trial, known as MiST3, treats patients with experimental drugs alongside regular chemotherapy treatment. If the trials are successful, it could mean the new treatment becomes available to everyone on the NHS, helping save and extend more lives.
David, who lives in Cambridgeshire, said he was determined to do everything he could to survive the disease, which causes 2,500 cases in this country every year, according to the charity Mesothelioma UK.
He said: “Before being enrolled on MiST3, I felt so worried about my future and that of my family.
“I discussed at length with my treating oncologist at Cambridge my desire to access all clinical trials – even if it meant me travelling outside of Cambridgeshire, as I was desperate to do anything to extend my life expectancy.
“I have seen how my own immune system has responded under the MiST3 trial.
“Within a few months of starting this treatment, my three tumour areas have dramatically shrunk in size.
“I am absolutely overjoyed and I still can’t believe the massive effects this combination of immunotherapy drug is having on me – the tumours have shrunk to a fraction of the size – from 6cm to 1cm.”
When he was first diagnosed, David was given 12 months to live but he is continuing to outlive that prognosis and he said he was determined to stay on the clinical trial as long as possible.
In May this year, David’s lawyers, Hugh James, secured him a six-figure settlement from his former employers in Cambridgeshire, enabling him to pay for private treatment if he needs it.
He said: “As dreadful as this diagnosis can be, I feel proud to be involved in shaping the care and treatment of future mesothelioma patients who may not have the financial means or grounds to make a legal claim.
“I want to ensure equitable access to the same medical treatments whether privately or via the NHS and hopefully my participation in the MiST3 clinical trial will lead to a new future standard of care.”
Phoebe Osborne, Senior Associate at Hugh James said: “It’s heartening to witness David participating in this clinical trial at Leicester, which will hopefully pave the way for additional treatment options to be available in future on the NHS.
“Obviously, this is a beneficial outcome for David and his family, but not everyone is able to bring a civil legal claim. It is, for this reason, David’s participation in the MiST3 clinical trial, even after his legal claim has settled, is vitally important as he is continuing to help medical researchers improve the standard of care for future mesothelioma patients.”