Royal Free doctor running London Marathon to fund revolutionary research to end breast cancer surgery
- Credit: Archant
A surgeon will run the London Marathon to help fund groundbreaking research that could end the need for breast cancer patients to go under the knife.
Mo Keshtgar, a consultant surgical oncologist at the Royal Free Hospital, is convinced his pioneering technique – using light to destroy cancer cells – will render invasive surgery unnecessary.
The 49-year-old will take on the gruelling 26.3-mile event on Sunday to help pay for clinical trials at the hospital in Pond Street, Hampstead.
Having decided to put on his running shoes after corporate backers dropped out – leaving a £200,000 shortfall – Mr Keshtgar has so far raised £104,050, mostly from supportive charities.
He said: “They pulled the plug and I needed to fill the gap. My vision is that we will be able to kill cancer cells without going anywhere near women with a knife.
“Some patients don’t want surgery and some are not fit for an operation. Everyone has misgivings about going under anaesthetic and having part of the breast removed. If it works, it will revolutionise the way we treat breast cancer. It will change the landscape altogether.”
Mr Keshtgar wants to prove a technique dubbed “photodynamic therapy”, which is already used to treat skin cancer and mouth cancer, can work for breast cancer.
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A patient is given a drug that makes the target area sensitive to light.
When it is activated with light, the process starves the cells of oxygen, causing them to die.
Mr Keshtgar, who has worked at the Royal Free for six years, said: “The cancer cells go into a suicide mission basically. This process does not kill normal tissue and does not affect the framework of the breast, so potentially it does not leave deformity.
“I’m very excited about this and I think it’s going to work, but of course I may be wrong.”
An intensive training regime has gathered pace in recent weeks, with regular runs from his home in Chigwell into work at the Royal Free – a 21-mile trip that sees him set off at 5am.
His 22-year-old son Soroosh, an aerospace engineering student, is also raising money for the cause.
“Everyone says the last miles are very difficult,” he added.
“I’m relying on the crowd to take me through.”
n To sponsor Mr Keshtgar visit www.justgiving.com/breastcancerawarenessforlife or text GOMO90 to 70070 followed by the amount you wish to donate.