Staff from the Sheffield Gestational Trophoblastic Disease Centre, based at Weston Park Cancer Centre, have celebrated 50 years of providing care. Sixty years ago, the rare group of tumours that grow from the tissue that forms during pregnancy was invariably fatal, but with the development of specialised treatments it is now more than 95 per cent curable.
The Sheffield centre has led the way with pioneering treatments, including those that will reduce short and long-term effects of intensive treatments. The centre is one of two internationally renowned specialist national treatment locations, commissioned by NHS England, to provide this care.
Staff past and present joined patients and supporters to highlight Sheffield’s leading role in the national programme, which was set up in 1973. Although the likelihood of curing the disease is now far higher, women still undergo months of treatment including chemotherapy directly following birth or following the loss of a pregnancy.
Patients shared their stories of treatment and researchers from the centre highlighted how they are trialling new immunotherapy treatments. These aim to reduce the short and long-term impacts of higher dose chemotherapy treatments, which are given in combination during standard treatment to kill cancerous tumours.
Consultant medical oncologist and director of the centre Dr Matt Winter said: “Gestational trophoblastic disease is a really rare disease which most people have never heard of. We are incredibly proud of what has been achieved over the last 50 years and our role as the only centre in the north of England caring for patients with this devastating group of conditions.
“Our services and research are recognised internationally as world-leading, so it is fantastic that this centre is on the doorstep for the local population.”
Picture: Sheffield Gestational Trophoblastic Disease Centre team celebrates.
Published on page 10 of the November 2023 issue of RAD Magazine.