Adrian Taylor was informed ten months ago that his cancer was incurable and that there were few remaining options for treatment.
His tonsil cancer had spread to his lungs and was getting worse despite several grueling months of chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
I was 53 years old at the time, and it is devastating news for anyone, he claims.
It's terrifying to think, "I've only just started living; I have young children; what will they do without me? What will my wife do? ".
At The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre, where he is currently working on what many believe to be the beginning of a revolution in cancer treatment, Mr. Taylor, a native of Wirral, is speaking with me.
He has been taking part in a clinical trial for the past few months that has benefited greatly from the innovative work done during the search for a Covid vaccine.
He claims, "I had nothing to lose.". "Without treatment, there was a 100% chance that I would pass away, so I grabbed hold of everything I could and simply said, 'Put me down for everything. ".
The initial outcomes in this emerging area of medicine are encouraging, and two hospitals in Liverpool are helping to pave the way.
Every two weeks, Mr. Taylor visits the clinic's clinical trials section where he receives a shot in addition to other treatments.
It works on the same principle as most Covid vaccines and employs the same mRNA technology—training the body to combat and eradicate harmful diseases.
It's safe to say that without the pandemic, this trial would not have taken place. The enormous amount of time, energy, and resources devoted to the search for a Covid vaccine also greatly accelerated development in this cutting-edge field.
Dr. Sheena Khanduri, the center's medical director, explains that this technology "harnesses defects in the cancer cells and creates personalized vaccines for the individual.".
It's very exciting and represents a paradigm shift in our understanding of how cancer vaccines function. ".
A number of groundbreaking clinical trials on cancer vaccines are being conducted by Clatterbridge in collaboration with the University of Liverpool and the Royal Liverpool Hospital, which is right next door.
Scientists at the Royal Liverpool are getting ready to launch a new trial using mRNA vaccines after bowel cancer surgery.
Surgeons remove tumors, which are then examined in a lab.
According to consultant liver surgeon Rob Jones, "we look at the genetic code for the cancer and then we make a specific vaccine for that patient so the vaccine is targeting their individual cancer.".
"It's the pinnacle of individualized medicine. ".
A nationwide trial that involves nine additional hospital trusts is being led by Mr. Jones and his team.
The ability to deliver vaccines anywhere is their main benefit, according to Mr. Jones. You will have received a flu or Covid vaccine in a doctor's office or school gymnasium.
"The same thing could occur with cancer vaccines. This is a case of enter, strike, and exit. And that can be implemented all over the nation. ".
According to many researchers, vaccines will soon revolutionize the way cancer is treated.
However, in the present, almost every NHS trust is working to reduce the cancer care backlogs brought on by the same pandemic that sped up the research program.
The difficulty is acknowledged by Mr. Jones. "In order to try and improve the situation, we had to work in a different way. We have employed various tactics. We have experimented with operating in various hospitals and locations.
"There are significant pressures on things like scan wait times and access to other therapies that we need to advance the surgery. ".
Mr. Taylor has completed his most recent treatment session at Clatterbridge. The good news is from him.
The most recent scans show that his tumors, which had been expanding quickly, have now significantly shrunk.
The original hope was that the cancer would be kept at bay - it wouldn't spread or grow, he says. "I think they've been amazed at the progress," he says.
"It's basically saved my life, and now there is hope. For me, the trial served as a sort of last-chance saloon.
"The horizon is bright right now. Really, it is.