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Given just months to live, Indian-origin woman cancer-free after experimental drug trial in UK

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An Indian-origin woman who was given just months to live a few years ago is celebrating on Monday (July 4) after doctors say she is showing no evidence of breast cancer following a clinical trial at a UK hospital.

Jasmin David, 51, from Fallowfield in Manchester is now looking forward to celebrating her 25th wedding anniversary in September after the successful National Health Service (NHS) trial.

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David’s two-year trial at the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Manchester Clinical Research Facility (CRF) at Christie NHS Foundation Trust involved an experimental medicine combined with Atezolizumab, an immunotherapy drug administered intravenously which she continues to have every three weeks.

“I was 15 months down the line after my initial cancer treatment and had almost forgotten about it, but then the cancer returned,” recalls David.

“When I was offered the trial, I didn’t know if it would work for me, but I thought that at least I could do something to help others and use my body for the next generation. At first, I had many horrible side effects including headaches and spiking temperatures, so I was in hospital over Christmas and quite poorly. Then thankfully I started to respond well to the treatment,” she said.

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The previously fit and healthy mother of two grown-up children worked as a clinical lead at a care home for the elderly.

She discovered she had an aggressive triple-negative form of breast cancer in November 2017, when she found a lump above the nipple.

She underwent six months of chemotherapy and a mastectomy in April 2018, followed by 15 cycles of radiotherapy which cleared her body of cancer.

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Then in October 2019, the cancer returned, and scans showed multiple lesions throughout her body meaning she had a poor prognosis.

The cancer had spread to the lungs, lymph nodes, and chest bone and she was given the devastating news that she had less than a year to live. Two months later, and with no other options left, David was offered the opportunity to be part of research by participating in Phase I clinical trial.

“I celebrated my 50th birthday in February 2020 while still in the middle of treatment and not knowing what the future held. Two and a half years ago I thought it was the end and I now feel like I’ve been reborn,” said David.

“There is a change in my life after returning from India to see family in April and I have decided to take early retirement and to live my life in gratitude to God and to medical science. My family has been very supportive of this decision. I will be celebrating my 25th wedding anniversary in September. I have so much to look forward to,” she said.

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“My Christian faith helped me a lot on this journey and the prayers and support from family and friends gave me strength to face the challenge,” she added.

By June 2021, scans showed no measurable cancer cells in her body and she was deemed cancer-free. She will remain on treatment until December 2023 but continues to show no evidence of the disease.

“We are really pleased that Jasmin has had such a good outcome. At The Christie we are continually testing new drugs and therapies to see if they can benefit more people, said Professor Fiona Thistlethwaite,” said Professor Fiona Thistlethwaite, medical oncologist and clinical director of Manchester CRF at The Christie.

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