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Woman given just two months to live is now free of cancer after miraculous drug trial

Lucy Devine

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Woman given just two months to live is now free of cancer after miraculous drug trial

Featured Image Credit: SWNS

A woman who was given just two months to live is now cancer free after taking part in a clinical drug trial.

Eliana Keeling, 65, from Manchester, was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia - a type of blood cancer - just before Christmas in 2020.

Acute myeloid leukemia is a type of blood cancer characterised by the rapid growth of abnormal blood cells that build up and interfere with normal blood cells.

Eliana started chemotherapy on Christmas Day, but despite two intense rounds, she was told that her cancer was terminal in May 2021.

Eliana Keeling was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia. Credit: SWNS
Eliana Keeling was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia. Credit: SWNS

“When I was told the chemo hadn’t worked and I had a couple of months to live, I knew there was no way I was going to accept that," says Eliana.

"It was as if a huge hole had opened in my world and everything planned disappeared in an instant."

Eliana refused to accept it was the end and asked to be referred to an expert cancer centre, The Christie.

She was enrolled on a clinical drug trial which put her into remission in just six months, meaning she was then able to have a bone marrow transplant.

The trial used a novel targeted cancer treatment which exploits a chemical weakness in the leukaemia cells.

It combines a drug already used called azacytidine, with a new experimental drug which as yet doesn’t have a name.

Eliana refused to accept it was the end and asked to be referred to an expert cancer centre, The Christie. Credit: Shutterstock
Eliana refused to accept it was the end and asked to be referred to an expert cancer centre, The Christie. Credit: Shutterstock

It's thought that the experimental drug, in tablet form, makes the conventional drug work more effectively.

Eliana says the trial - which she described as best thing that ever happened to her - has given her a new lease of life.

"The Christie is the best thing that happened to me. I enjoy going there, which is crazy, because who likes going to hospital?" She says.

"Everything is always explained to me and you are treated like a human being and not just a statistic. Every member of staff is incredible.

"I’ve now been given a new lease of life thanks to research, and feel like The Christie has worked a miracle.”

Dr Emma Searle, consultant haematologist at The Christie, said: “Eliana had a poor prognosis and her only chance was the clinical trial and bone marrow transplant for long term survival.

It combines a drug already used called azacytidine, with a new experimental drug. Credit: Shutterstock
It combines a drug already used called azacytidine, with a new experimental drug. Credit: Shutterstock

"We’re really pleased Eliana had such a good response and is now leukaemia free.

"Given she had a very limited life expectancy when the chemotherapy failed to work, this is an excellent result for her.

"Not all our trial patients who have AML respond as well as Eliana did, but we are grateful to every patient and relative that feels able to support research here at The Christie.

"Trials are so important to make progress in treating cancer."

Topics: Health

Lucy Devine
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