A healthy, fit father, diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, says he was left like a ‘nightmare on Elm Street’ after a horrific reaction to chemotherapy left him too embarrassed to go to cricket matches for his young son – and now hopes to save his life with a pioneering vaccine.

Jeffrey Seymour, 41, a procurement specialist, loved to play tennis, basketball and cricket and was always healthy until before his 41st birthday when he started having blood in his stool.

Jeffrey was aware that this was a symptom of cancer from the advertisements on TV, so he quickly went to his GP.

Jeffrey, who lives in Richmond, London, with his wife Santa, 44, and their son Marco, 10, have been diagnosed with stage 4 colorectal cancer, which has spread from the colon to the liver – a very serious and seemingly hopeless situation. To be “wrapped in a paper bag on fire.”

He also had a bad reaction to chemotherapy which caused severe blistering of the skin on his face and, according to Jeffrey, made him look like Freddy Krueger from the 1984 horror movie, Nightmare on Alam Street.

Chemotherapy has stopped working but now, in an effort to save his life, Jeffrey has traveled to Germany for dendritic cell therapy – where a personalized vaccine is being created in a lab with the goal of stimulating the immune system.

Research in this area is at an early stage, according to Cancer Research UK, so the treatment hasn’t been cheap – just one injection in Germany, on October 17, cost £17,000, and Jeffrey is now waiting to see if that’s enough to help him, with Continue to raise money to pay for it.

“I couldn’t even wait until the end of the fundraising to get it done just because I was so worried about the spread of disease,” he said.

Jeffrey was determined to find a new method after three sessions of five doses of chemotherapy did not work and left him with side effects so bad that he no longer wanted to go out in public, even to see his young child playing cricket.

“I had a really bad reaction in my face, it was full of painful blisters that made my face feel like it was on fire,” he said.

“I just got to the point where I looked like Nightmare on Elm Street. Unless I went there with a bag over my head, there were other people coming up to me and looking at me thinking, ‘What’s wrong with this guy?’ When I’m so happy to mingle with the crowd “.

Jeffrey’s ordeal began in April 2021, just two weeks before his 41st birthday on March 4, when he received his first warning signs of cancer.

After discovering blood in his stool, Jeffrey decided to visit his GP, as he knew it might be a symptom of cancer. And in late March at Kingston Hospital, he was diagnosed with stage 4 colorectal cancer, which had spread to the liver.

After diagnosis, in March 2021, he had five cycles of chemotherapy every three weeks, which initially reduced the lesions in his liver. At this point, he said he felt “optimistic.”

In December 2021, he underwent surgery to remove a third of his liver, and the medical team began prepping him for the radiotherapy that was to be used on the colon – he even had tattooed radio marks for laser alignment.

A month later, the scan showed more tumors in his liver, so he underwent another round of chemotherapy. This time it was successful and the liver surgery was booked for June 2022.

But, as things were improving, a few weeks before the surgery, the examination revealed the progression of the disease. Jeffrey was sent back to chemotherapy with a different agent and the surgery was cancelled.

After just two cycles, blood work and scans showed disease progression again, all while the side effects were unbearable for Jeffrey.

“The side effects got worse, worse, worse,” he said, “and now, chemotherapy isn’t effective anymore, the body gets used to it.”

Explaining his bad reaction to the chemotherapy drug, he said, “It basically kills all the fast-growing cells, which includes cancer cells, but also includes your hair and nails. I had a really bad reaction to that in my face.”

Determined to find an alternative, Jeffrey set out to do his own research by searching the internet and found dendritic cell therapy, only to be told it would not be available to him in the UK.

He decided to travel to a lab in Ulm, Germany for treatment for a week on October 17, 2022. Friends and family gathered to contribute to his Go Fund Me appeal, which raised over £14,000 and helped pay out the £14,000 sum. 17,000 injections.

“I’m still in pain, and I have a lot of pain, which I try to find a good balance of very strong medications,” he said.

Jeffrey is due to meet his oncologist on 1 November in the UK, but knows he may need to pay for more vaccine doses and more treatment abroad and continues to raise money to pay for it.

Caroline Geraghty, a specialist cancer information nurse at Cancer Research UK, said: “Denergetic cell therapy is a type of vaccine that can treat cancer. Dendritic cells help the immune system to recognize and attack abnormal cells, such as cancer cells.

To make the vaccine, scientists grow dendritic cells alongside cancer cells in a lab. The vaccine then stimulates your immune system to attack the cancer. It is still being researched, so the evidence base is not strong enough to be available in the UK.

“Decisions about the best course of treatment should be based on sound evidence of benefit – so it is important that patients talk to their doctor about any alternative treatment they may consider.”

She added: “Thanks to ongoing research developments, there are still many new cancer drugs showing efficacy in clinical trials, providing potential options for people with cancer.

“But while regulators have improved the speed with which they assess them for routine use of the NHS service, there are still, unfortunately, times when certain medicines are not easily accessible to people who might benefit from them. We understand how frustrating this can be.”

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