Suit Up for Science supports life saving medical researchVIDEO

Proof: Dr Rhys Thomas knows from first hand experience the life-saving impact of medical research and says people need to show their support. Picture: Marina Neil

WHEN Dr Rhys Thomas firstreceived his cancer diagnosis more than three years ago, the prognosis was “so bad” he did not think he would be around long enough to contemplate returningto work.

Dr Thomas was given three months to live after a melanoma diagnosis in October 2013.

If not for his participation in a clinical trial for anew class of cancer drugsthat work through immunotherapy, Dr Thomasdoubts he would have lived to share his story, let alone return to work.

Suit Up For ScienceBut during the past six-to-nine months, the New Lambton manhas made a gradual return to his career as ananaesthetist at John Hunter Hospital.

Trials a big stepping stone “It has been a gradual process,” he said.“I had to jump through a few hoops as I had been unable to work for over twoyears.But I’ve been well-supported and my competence and confidence is slowly returning.”

His participationin the clinical trial hadmotivated Dr Thomas to encourage peopleto “Suit Up for Science” throughout May to raise money for the Centenary Institute Medical Research Foundation.

“Determining the mechanisms involved in these diseases and trying to develop effective and safe therapies is a very long and expensive process, and government funding is often inadequate,” Dr Thomas said.

Hewasdiagnosed afteran“unremarkable cough” that was accompanied byabdominal and flank pain.

Scansand tests revealed he had melanoma, withseveral significanttumours scattered throughout his lungs, abdomen, and brain.

“The median survival for patients in my situation was about three-to-four months. So if 100 patients came in with what I presented with, within four months, 50 of them would be dead,” he said.

Dr Thomas had surgery and radiotherapy before beginningone of the clinical trials into melanoma.

Within four weeks, there had been a reduction in the size of his tumours.

Dr Thomas said his oncologist, professor Peter Hersey, was overseeing his immunotherapy trial and did his research at the Centenary Institute.

“Science research is such a collaborative, team effort performed over many years, by many people, in many places, so that it would be hard to just single out one organisation, but it does seem like Centenary are one of the leading researchers in the fields of cancer and immunology – two fields which seemto have combined, resulting in these breakthrough immunotherapy drugs that have had such a big impact in my case,” Dr Thomas said.

“Ifthe community wants these new breakthroughs, then they need to lobby their MPs and/or put their money where their mouth is and get involved in some fundraising. Suiting up for science seems like a good way to not only raise some much needed funds, but also to have fun, and inspire the next generation of potential professors.”

Support the initiative via suitupforscience苏州夜网.au.

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