A special clinic for patients with an extremely rare cancer was launched at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge today.
It is the first of its kind in Europe for patients with paediatric and wild-type GIST cancers - gastro-intestinal stromal tumours. This is a cancer of the digestive tract for which there is no cure and no successful treatment.
It occurs in about 15-20 people for every million of the population, and there are currently only 700-900 cases in the UK.
– Dr Ramesh Bulusu, Consultant, Addenbrooke's Hospital
"If I was to dream about this, my dream is to find a cure. That's the most important thing. And, if I can't find a cure, I want to find a new drug or new intervention which can give a long survival for these patients."_
Rachel Gilbert from St Ives, Cambridgeshire, was at the clinic this morning. She was diagnosed with the condition 13 years ago.
She says she is excited to be part of the pioneering clinic which brings together patients and a team of experts from across the UK.
– Rachel Gilbert, Patient
"It's going to change the way everyone thinks about GIST and hopefully get people to realise how rare it is and get all the people who work and the specialists under one roof so that we can find a cure together."_
The clinic will be held three times of year. Jayne Bressington from the PAWS-GIST charity told us it is already having a big impact on patients.
She told us: "Well, frankly, it gives them hope and that's the main thing. Because, when somebody is diagnosed with this and not even the doctors they go to see know about it, it can be a very awful time. So the fact that this clinic exists is going to make a huge difference."
The patients we spoke to say they hope the clinic will lead to new treatments and potentially even a cure in the future.