Participant claims drug trial gave him cancer

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Sunday, August 6, 2006

A man who fell ill after participating in a drug trial at Northwick Park Hospital in north-west London earlier this year has revealed he has the early signs of an “aggressive” form of cancer.

David Oakley was one of six men who volunteered to take part in a trial of a drug intended to cure conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and leukemia in March. But after taking the drug, the thirty-five year-old suffered multiple organ failure and prominent inflammation.

Mr Oakley, who lives in west London, told today’s Mail on Sunday that doctors have informed him he has “definite early signs” of lymph cancer. He also fears he could develop other debilitating illnesses like rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, chronic fatigue syndrome and lupus. He will now undergo tests to see what treatments will be required. “It’s very frightening,” he told the newspaper. “I’m trying not to be too down about the thought of having chemotherapy or that I might die.”

Mr Oakley was paid £2,000 for his involvement in the trial, and that money subsidised his marriage to wife Katrina in June. He now fears their hope of having children has been jeopardised as a result of his ill health. “Katrina and I had planned to start trying for children six months after getting married, but we can’t do that now. Everything is on hold.”

There is nothing to suggest that Mr Oakley's cancer was triggered by the experiment. He is now seeking compensation from Parexel, the company which organised the drug trial. “Really, I’m just trying to do my bit and pointing out their mistake. If someone doesn’t point it out it could happen again and there’s no way I would like to see someone else go through what we’re going through right now.” Earlier this year, six men had to be admitted to an intensive care unit at the same hospital, in another Parexel drug trial which caused much upset.