18/03/2024 | Press releases

Research trial gave me the chance of a new treatment for blood cancer

Scott Davey’s options to treat blood cancer were running out.

The 47-year-old had experienced years of health issues and been told he had acquired a genetic mutation that resulted in cancer.

The previously fit and active dad was then given another chance through a research study at Colchester Hospital.

Man in cycling gear standing in front of bike
Scott Davey

Scott, who works as an automation engineer and is married with a five-year-old daughter, said: “I was 36, really fit, running every day and very active, but I started getting stomach problems and feeling ill every time I ate.”

He ended up being rushed to Colchester Hospital due to pain when he ate and it was discovered his portal vein was blocked. Scott had to stop such intense exercise and a series of medical investigations began while his symptoms were managed.

Then in 2014 it was found that Scott had a genetic mutation in the JAK2 gene, called the V617F mutation, that had created abnormalities in his blood count and the reason he was experiencing stomach pains and lacking in energy.

Man and young girl sitting on large tree trunk
Scott with his daughter

He said: “It was really worrying knowing what this meant for me. I was sent to Guy’s and St Thomas for further tests, and I was told I had the choice of three different medications all with very concerning side effects. I was transferred back to Colchester Hospital’s Haematology department, and it was decided to continue treating the condition with just Warfarin and regular check-ups.

“I took up cycling, clocking up 200 miles a week, and the regular exercise helped reduce the symptoms.”

But Scott’s health started to decline over the next few years, and it was looking like he would have to decide to start taking one of the previously offered medications. He was told his blood condition had developed into polycythaemia, a form of blood cancer where the bone marrow creates too many red blood cells resulting in symptoms including stomach pain, headaches, joint pain, swelling, nosebleeds and difficulties with breathing.

Close up of man, young girl and woman outside. All looking to camera.
Scott with his daughter and wife Clare

Scott needed to explore different treatment options, which were potentially available through the Mithridate research study being run at Colchester Hospital.

“When I found out about the research study it sounded like a great option as I may be chosen for treatment not usually available. My wife Clare was worried about the side effects, but it’s given me another option and one I wouldn’t have had before,” said Scott who lives in West Bergholt.

Colchester Hospital is one of several sites that is part of the Mithridate trial.

Man with glasses looking at camera. White background
Dr Khalid Saja

Dr Khalid Saja, consultant haematologist, clinical lead for Haematology, and the principal investigator for the Mithridate study said: “This trial is comparing the effectiveness between two treatments for patients diagnosed with polycythaemia vera – an existing treatment, or what we call standard-of-care, and a new treatment called Ruxolitinib.

“This is a randomised trial, so participants can either receive one of the currently existing medications or receive Ruxolitinib. Scott is receiving Ruxolitinib and the study will look at which option will turn out to be best for patients.”

Colchester Hospital is one of the sites running the Mithridate trial and is one of the top recruiters for the study already having exceeded the number of participants required to join the study.

Scott has given his consent to share his story about his involvement with the study.

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