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Image / Agenda / Breaking Stories

Vicky Phelan begins “wonder drug” treatment in Maryland as part of US clinical trial

Vicky Phelan has begun her clinical trial in the US, a month after leaving Ireland to take part in the experimental immunotherapy cancer treatment.

by Lauren Heskin
10th Feb 2021


Vicky Phelan had the support of a nation behind her last month as she headed to Maryland for at least six months in the hopes that a new drug will give her more time with her children and a good quality of life.

Phelan was diagnosed with terminal cervical cancer in 2014, after a 2011 smear failed to detect any abnormalities. She was one of the first to take a case against the State and brought the controversy into the public eye.

In November, she shared that her cancer was growing again. Rather than opt for palliative care in Ireland, she decided to move to the US alone for a months-long clinical trial that could potentially slow the growth for her tumours.

Yesterday, she tweeted that she had finally begun taking the “wonder drug M7824” after a number of weeks of tests to ensure she was a right fit for the trial. Tweeting out a picture of herself giving the thumbs up, she says, “Here’s hoping that this drug does for me what Pembro has achieved – a quality of life that has allowed me to really live my life and make memories”.

She refers to it as “Pembro 2.0” a drug that she had successfully fought for access to in Ireland and had helped to slow her cancerous growths for a time. She also gave a big thank to all those sending her well wishes. 


A bastion of strength

She has become a beacon of positivity for many during these dark time. Speaking on the Late Late Show recently, she said she found her strength by rationalising. “There’s always people worse off than you,” she explained. 

Despite her positive attitude, her concerns are very real. “What I’m scared of most is not coming back. Or of coming back in a coffin, I know that sounds very brutal but that would be my biggest worry,” she told Ryan Tubridy.

This comes on the same day that Lynsey Bennett heads off to Mexico for immunotherapy treatment. Bennett was another victim of the CervicalCheck scandal, who settled her case against the HSE last week, giving a tearful yet powerful statement on the court steps. Speaking of her two young daughters, she said she hoped that the settlement would be enough to give them financial security, “that even with me not here to guide you, you can both pursue your dreams.”

Hoping to see both of these absolute forces of nature back on Irish soil feeling happy and strong soon.


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