Tom lives life to the full

This trial has given me a life-saving opportunity and without it I wouldn’t be here Tom Scrivens, 24, brain tumour patient
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Unfortunately it is rare to find someone who hasn’t been touched by cancer in some way.  24 year-old Tom Scrivens knows all too well the effect cancer can have because he has lived it first-hand.

After being diagnosed in early 2013 with a highly aggressive type of brain tumour, Tom underwent major surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy only to be given the news that his tumour was not responding to treatment and time was running out.

“I was told I had eight weeks to live,” says Tom. “It was devastating, not just for me but for my family. We felt like we were at the end of the road with no hope.”

But hope came in the form of a clinical trial using antibody therapy drug ABT414 created at the ONJ Cancer Centre.

Researchers here discovered a specific molecule found on brain cancer cells and developed a drug called ABT414 which specifically targets those cancer cells. This is a breakthrough development in the treatment of brain cancer, in part funded by donations from you, the generous ONJ Centre community.

Currently the average survival time following diagnosis of aggressive brain tumours like Tom’s is only fifteen months and eighty per cent of people with this type of brain cancer are dead within five years of diagnosis.

Tom started on the ABT414 trial in April 2013, and seven months later an MRI scan showed his tumour had shrunk by seventy-five per cent!

“We were absolutely elated,” says Tom. “I now live every minute of my life to the full.  I married my partner, we live together in our house and we fill our time with things we love to do like going for country drives, eating good food, spending time with our families and treasuring every moment.”

Researchers at the ONJ Centre have identified the potential for antibody therapy like ABT414 to be effective in treating other types of cancer too.  With further research, ABT414 could be developed into a treatment for breast, colon and lung cancer.

Your generous support means researchers, doctors and patients at the ONJ Centre enjoy unique, close collaboration, making real-time scientific discoveries which can be translated via clinical trials, into new treatments for people with cancer, like Tom Professor Jonathan Cebon, ONJCRI Medical Director