Manchester man given a year to live now cancer-free after groundbreaking drug trial

"I wouldn’t be here today without the trial."

Emily Sergeant Emily Sergeant - 30th December 2022

A Manchester man who was told he had just a year left to live has now been given the all-clear from cancer after a groundbreaking drug trial.

51-year-old Robert Glynn from Worsley in Salford is a massive Manchester United fan, enjoys playing snooker, golf, and fishing, and previously worked as a welder before his health turn a took and he went to his doctor with a severe pain in his shoulder that was preventing him from sleeping properly, and eventually developing an infection in his gall bladder.

After several scans and blood tests, Robert got the got the devastating news that he had intrahepatic bile duct cancer back in August 2020 – in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic and the day before his 49th birthday.

Intrahepatic bile duct cancer – which is also known as biliary tract cancer – is a rare cancer that forms in the bile ducts inside the liver, with only around 1,000 people in the UK diagnosed with this type of disease each year, and only around 5% of people living for five years or more after diagnosis.

Sadly, not only is there a poor prognosis and few treatment options for this type of cancer, Robert’s cancer was at such an advanced stage that it was now in his liver and had spread to his adrenal gland too.


So, he was referred to The Christie and offered the opportunity to participate in a clinical trial.

After showing an interest in taking part in the trial, Robert’s tumour sample was sent off for molecular analysis to check for any alterations, and it was found that his tumour had a high mutation burden – which means there was large numbers of genetic mutations in the cells – and this indicated that he may potentially have a good response to immunotherapy, which is a type of cancer treatment that helps the body’s immune system fight cancer.


Based on these results, Robert was recommended to start a clinical trial with an immunotherapy drug already-approved for use in the UK, combined with the standard chemotherapy.

The treatment was administered intravenously.

The immunotherapy treatment together with chemotherapy proved so successful that it helped shrink the tumour in Robert’s liver and adrenal gland, and meant he was able to have surgery in April this year, which miraculously found only ‘dead tissue’ and showed that treatment combination killed-off all the cancer cells.


Since the operation, Robert hasn’t needed any more treatment and his three-monthly scans show that he’s now clear of cancer.

Manchester man given a year to live now cancer-free after groundbreaking drug trial / Credit: The Christie NHS Foundation Trust

“I wouldn’t be here today without the trial,” Robert reflects.

“When I was given the option to take part in research, I jumped at the chance. You do anything you can to extend your life… and it’s important to remain positive and not give up. It’s never over until it’s over.”

Robert said getting the all-clear was “overwhelming”.

He continued: “In an odd kind of way having the diagnosis has turned my life around. 


“With my partner, Simone, we get out in nature and walk loads. When something like this happens you realise life is for living.”

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Oncologists worldwide are now eagerly awaiting the results of the research into Robert’s case, as this, along with a further study with more patients, could lead to a change in the treatment of biliary tract cancer.

Featured Image – The Christie NHS Foundation Trust