Huntingdonshire man dedicates life to cancer therapy
A HUNTINGDONSHIRE man has sold his home and given up his job so he can publicise a cancer treatment which he says saved the life of his daughter. David Longman, 55, who lives with is partner in Hemingford Abbots, will launch a fundraising campaign later
A HUNTINGDONSHIRE man has sold his home and given up his job so he can publicise a cancer treatment which he says saved the life of his daughter.
David Longman, 55, who lives with is partner in Hemingford Abbots, will launch a fundraising campaign later this year aimed at getting photodynamic therapy (PDT) into the public consciousness.
The treatment is being billed as an alternative way to eradicate tumours without the need for surgery, radiotherapy or chemotherapy.
The former journalist and advertising executive said he wanted to highlight the therapy after it was used on his daughter, Louise, five years ago when she was 18.
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He has founded a charity called Killing Cancer to raise awareness of the treatment.
In simple terms photodynamic therapy (PDT) works by injecting the tumour with a drug (based on chlorophyll) that makes it hyper-sensitive to light. The tumour is then flooding with light, which can destroy it.
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Some healthy cells may be affected, but they will heal after the treatment, said Mr Longman.
The only reported major side affect is that the patient will be extra-sensitive (eyes and skin) to light for a few weeks after the process.
While Mr Longman believes that the treatment is a viable alternative to other therapies for some forms of cancer, he warned that it is not a cure and cannot stop another tumour growing - as is the case with other treatments.
Currently PDT is used to treat cancers - and precancerous conditions - of the skin, head, neck, mouth, lung, gullet, stomach and bile ducts.
Mr Longman told The Hunts Post: "PDT is a very quick and simple treatment. My father died of head and neck cancer and at 88-years-old he was subjected to nine hours of surgery.
"With PDT he could have had half-an-hour of treatment.
"When we launch the campaign, we are going to completely change the cancer world. We are going to put choice into the hands of the public and we will raise the �50million funds we need to develop the trials."
Mr Longman said his daughter, now aged 23 and a teacher in Birmingham, has had two tumours in her arm in the past five years - both were destroyed by this method.
He is hoping that half the money needed for the research will come from donations and the other half from a drug company. He said he is talking with companies in Seattle and France.
Mr Longman, a father of three, added: "I have sold my house and my car and given up my job for this campaign because nothing is more important than this.
"It is too important not to be totally focused on."
On Thursday at the London Hilton, Mr Longman was presented with an award by Health Investor Magazine, presented by former MP Michael Portillo, for Outstanding Contribution by an Individual to Healthcare Development.
Mr Longman said he would officially launching his Killing Cancer campaign, simultaneously at the Royal Free Hospital in London and Harvard Medical School in Boston, in September.
INFORMATION: For more information see: www.killingcancer.co.uk
nPDT is a recognised form of treatment and research is being carried out on its use
nMedical research trials are in three phases: Phase one is to ensure the drug does not harm (this trial is likely to be with a small number, possibly eight people)
nPhase two is to establish that the drug is effective (20 or 30 people)
nPhase three consists of large-scale trials with thousands of patients comparing the new and established treatments
nPhase two research is currently being carried out at Dundee University on the use on PDT on brain tumours
nPhase one research is currently being carried out at University College London on PDT treatment for pancreatic cancer
INFORMATION FROM CANCER RESEARCH UK