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  1. ITV Report

Family backs 'medical innovation bill'

Chloe Drury from Purley died a month after her 18th birthday. Photo: Family handout.

The family of a teenager, who died after being told she was too young to take a promising new cancer drug, is backing proposals for a law, designed to make it easier for doctors to try new treatments.

Chloe Drury from Purley in Surrey was barred from a drugs trial because she was just a few months short of her 18th birthday.

Her family says she was an adult size and weight - and that her doctors were keen for her to take the PARPi drugs.

But the drugs company BioMarin would not allow her to take part in the clinic trial because she was technically still a child. Chloe had to wait until her 18th birthday to start on the PARPi medication. But by then, her family feel, it was too late. She died a month later.

It was a bureaucratic impediment that was stopping Chloe getting onto this....

She was in all other ways an adult and nothing was going to change in her body in those three months before she got the drug...and it just seemed no-one was able to role their sleeves up and say this is ridiculous, we really need to push ahead with this.

– Debbie Binner, Chloe's mother

Chloe's mother Debbie Binner believes that her daughter's treatment reflects a wider problem with the culture of the medical profession - where doctors are encouraged to "play it safe" rather than finding new treatments.

She is supporting a new Medical Innovation Bill - drawn up by Maurice Saatchi, whose own wife died of cancer - which got its first reading in the House of Commons today.

It hopes to encourage doctors to try new techniques, by giving them some protection from being sued if it goes wrong.

I passionately support Maurice's bill. It is exactly what is needed. Our beautiful young daughter was treated on a standard protocol set up in 1999 which the doctors knew wouldn't work. There has been no innovation in treatments for the kind of cancer Chloe had for some 30 years. An entrenched status quo has been allowed to develop where doctors play it safe. Maurice's bill addresses why doctors do this and proposes really rational and sensible solutions for providing doctors/researchers with a more supportive environment in which to innovate.

– Debbie Binner, Chloe's mother

A spokesman for drug company BioMarin said:

"Our deepest sympathy goes out to the parents who are grieving the loss of their child...

Not only is this an early stage trial, but it is the first clinical trial that we have ever done with this therapy. It is premature to know if it is safe or effective."

Chloe's mother Debbie Binner spoke to our reporter Ruth Banks.