Aslan singer Christy Dignam has revealed doctors have found a “cure” for what was deemed a terminal cancer he’d been fighting.
The lead vocalist said: “They’ve just discovered a cure for amyloidosis, which is amazing. Up to now it was untreatable…there was no cure for it…they just found a cure for it.”
Dignam, from Finglas, broke the news on the Ray D’Arcy show before performing live on the radio ahead of the band’s gig at the Longford Summer Festival tonight.
The singer told how he had received news of the medical breakthrough yesterday (Tue) and he instantly felt anxious for others who hadn’t received such potentially life-altering news.
“I actually feel guilty, the first feeling I had was guilt…you feel unworthy or something. I was thinking of other people who don’t have cures.”
The gene silencing therapy for the rare cancer has been approved for the NHS in England but it isn’t clear if it will be on the HSE as of yet.
Dignam had been receiving treatment at the leading Royal Free Hospital in London every two months and he said he would “do my best” to receive the treatment.
“It’s been prescribed by the NHS… so I’ll have to get onto the HSE,” he said.
“What happens is my DNA tells my liver to produce a negative protein, which is cancerous, this (new treatment) blocks the signal from your DNA to your liver, to stop producing amyloidosis protein, it stops the production of it, so it is a cure, it stops it being terminal – it’s amazing.”
“God is after determining this.”
Speaking off air to RTÉ, the singer said: “I had been given a death sentence, you know, and now it’s been lifted, it’s amazing.”
Professor Philip Hawkins, head of the National Amyloidosis Centre at the Royal Free Hospital, London, told Pharmafield.co.uk recently, said that the decision to place the drug Patisiran on the NHS as an “important step forward in the treatment of a disease that is both life-threatening to patients and devastating to families.”
Prof Hawkins added: “Patisiran has shown in its main clinical study that it can halt or even improve potentially debilitating symptoms of this disease in the majority of patients.
“This means we now have a real possibility of preserving quality of life for eligible patients for longer than has so far been possible. Gene-silencing is a promising area of medicine and it is heartening to see this science translating into treatments that can potentially help those suffering from serious illnesses like hATTR amyloidosis.”
The Ray D’Arcy Show was aired from Clondra, Co. Longford as part of Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands tour with Fáilte Ireland.
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