News Follows Drug’s 40% Success Rate In Trials Involving Mick Conway Following His Terminal Cancer Diagnosis
A former builder has welcomed the availability of a new drug via the NHS after his own asbestos-related cancer reduced within a few months of trialling the ‘miracle’ treatment.
Michael Conway, 71, from Milton Keynes was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2017 (when aged 66), a cancer of the lining of the lungs associated with exposure to asbestos, often decades previously.
A place on a research programme led to successful treatment that has transformed Mick’s life and an announcement by NICE today means the treatment that did so much for Mick is set be more widely available for others with similar conditions.
Following his diagnosis, Mick, instructed specialist asbestos-related disease lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate his illness and where his exposure may have taken place.
The legal team led by Satpal Singh referred Mick to mesothelioma specialist Professor Dean Fennell, Director of the Mesothelioma Research Programme at the Leicester Cancer Research Centre.
Professor Fennell was working on the CheckMate-743 immunotherapy drug trial, with other international mesothelioma specialists. The clinical trial evaluated the use of Nivolumab (Opdivo) in combination with Ipilimumab (Yervoy), compared to chemotherapy treatment in patients who had previously untreated malignant pleural mesothelioma.
Following the immunotherapy treatment, Mick’s tumours shrank from 21mm and 29mm to just 5mm and he has now lived two years past his original prognosis date.
Mick has now joined with his legal team to welcome the announcement by NICE that the treatment will now be available for others via the NHS and on the key role his legal team played in securing him a place on the original research programme.
Commenting on his experiences, Mick said: “The treatment I received as part of the drug trial changed my life and gave me and my family a future we thought we might never see. It’s great news that this treatment will now be more widely available to others in the same position.
“My lawyers played a big part in helping me access the latest treatments, which included making me aware of my eligibility for this drug trial. Not everyone is so lucky and this decision should mean more people get the same chance at life as I did.”
The checkmate trail involved Nivolumab and Ipilimumab, that work by boosting the immune system to attack the cancer. Mick tolerated the treatment well and despite some side effects that paused Mick’s trial in December 2017, he felt well.
Mick added: “To be told out of the blue you have an inoperable, terminal disease is devastating. You find yourself sitting at home thinking ‘why me’ and don’t know what to do or where to turn and it’s then that a support network really matters and my lawyers played a key part.
“Satpal helped me win my case against my previous employers and they have agreed to fund any treatment recommended for me. This drug trial gave me a miracle. It’s great to know that I have helped to pave the way for others to have the same chance at life that I got.”
Mick is married to wife Denise, 71 years of age and they have two children that are married, Hayley (age 40) Daniel (age 44) and three grandchildren.
Expert Opinion“After what has felt like a long wait, it is great to see that the drug that did so much to help Mick will now be available to others facing a mesothelioma diagnosis.
“Following several delays, the greater availability of this treatment will have a big impact and improve the quality of life for many people with this asbestos-related cancer.
“It was a pleasure to help Mick and his family secure the financial settlement they deserved and to point them in the direction of treatment which has had such a positive impact on all their lives.
“Mick and his case shows there is hope following a mesothelioma diagnosis and the news this drug will now be available to others is a great step forward. Mick’s participation in the initial trials has delivered a new treatment for mesothelioma and is an important step forward on the road to further treatments in the years ahead.” Satpal Singh - Senior Associate