Research student’s treatment hopes for rare bone cancer

A young scientist who specialises in cancer research has launched a funding appeal after he was diagnosed with a rare type of bone cancer.

Scott Stinson, a chemistry graduate from Northern Ireland, has inoperable cancer after it spread to his lungs.

The 25-year-old, from Newcastle in Co Down, was studying for a chemistry and nanotechnology PhD at St Andrews University in Scotland last April, when he was diagnosed with bone cancer.

This resulted in his right arm and shoulder being amputated and he now has a shoulder prosthetic.

A year after his diagnosis, he discovered the cancer had spread to his lungs and was told that further treatment would only be life-extending.

Scott has now launched a funding appeal for potential curative options after exhausting all possible treatments available on the NHS.

He said: “These treatment packages cost up to £55,000 a time with an indefinite monthly follow up care of up to £4,000, as well as travel and accommodation costs incurred during treatment visits.

Scott Stinson
Scott with his girlfriend Becky (Family handout/PA)

“Time is not on my side and I will be hoping to raise enough funds to begin the first round of treatment by the end of April.

“Osteosarcoma, or osteogenic sarcoma, is a rare type of bone cancer which is often considered an orphan disease. Its rarity means there is a lack of a market large enough to gain support and resources for discovering treatments for it.”

Scott graduated with a first-class honour master’s in chemistry and nanotechnology from Heriot-Watt University in 2016.

He was selected for a place at the UK Research Council funded Centre for Doctoral Training in Critical Resource Catalysis at the University of St Andrews, under the supervision of Dr Euan Kay.

Dr Kay said: “Scott excels at both the practical and theoretical aspects of this work, and it was quickly apparent to me that Scott is – by some margin – the most talented PhD student I have worked with.

“Almost immediately, he was taking charge of his own projects in the manner of a far more experienced researcher.

“I have been repeatedly impressed by the maturity of Scott’s approach – in his self-motivation, pragmatic and inventive attitude to dealing with obstacles and unanticipated results.”

Scott’s mother Jill, who set up the GoFundMe page, said: “His strength and determination since April are immeasurable and we continue to be grateful to Scott’s amazing girlfriend Becky, who has paused her Master’s in costume design in Edinburgh, to move over to Northern Ireland to live with and care for Scott in Newcastle.

“We need to consider urgently other realistic treatment options in the likely event that treatment in the UK will not be prescribed.

“Therefore, we are currently researching treatment options abroad whilst still pursing the possibility of receiving Immunotherapy in the UK.

“Either way funding will be an issue for Scott and our family which is why we have set up this page.”

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