A prominent Spanish clinical investigational site, Clinica de Navarra (CUN) of Pamplona, helped save the life of a Gibraltar resident and pancreatic cancer survivor for nearly five years, named Louis Baldachino. He went on to found Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Gibraltar. Life is precious and upon a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, the odds of survival are not high. Here they were beaten thanks to an immunotherapy-based clinical trial at an important Spanish medical institution. 

Surviving Pancreatic Cancer

Back in July 2015, Mr. Baldachino was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He was eventually treated at the Clinica de Navarra (CUN) clinic in Pamplona. Baldachino entered into a clinical trial, with weekly treatments, at CUN Pamplona from October 2017 to November 2019. Mr. Baldachino had to travel up to Pamplona, way to the north in Spain, every Sunday to have blood work and other tests done only to return Monday evening all the way to the very south of Spain in the British territory of Gibraltar. It was a tough road and process, but he reports, “Together with my family, I have gone through very difficult times and emotions. Through all of this, I have always remained positive and strong to keep fighting and determined to win this battle.” It paid off—as not only did Mr. Baldachino overcome, he went on to launch the patient group known as Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Gibraltar.

The Odds aren’t Good but ‘Never Lose Hope’

It isn’t easy to survive from pancreatic cancer and Mr. Baldachino’s odds were against him. He noted “Pancreatic cancer has the worst survival rate of all common cancers with only a 7% survival rate after five years of being diagnosed but my message to everyone, as emphatic as one can be, is to ‘Never lose hope.”

COVID-19 Challenges

Mr. Baldachino reminds all that with this dangerous pandemic, cancer patients face even graver rates and he falls in that category having lost his spleen back in 2016. But the need to remain positive and uplifting is never as more important as now. Louis reminds us all “Keep safe, stay home always remembering our elderly and all the more vulnerable of our Gibraltar to this pandemic.”

What about the Clinical Investigational Site?

Clinica de Navarra (CUN) was instrumental in Mr. Baldachinio’s survival. CUN treats thousands of patients from more than 50 countries each year. The research site has been involved with major clinical trials involving pancreatic cancer. For example, in 2018, CUN joined the PanFAM-1, the largest ever prospective study looking at early diagnosis in right risk individuals with Familial Pancreatic Cancer (FPC). This study analyzed more than 1,000 individuals over three years across sites in the U.S. and Europe already offering FPC screening programs.

Founded in 1962, the Spanish provider and research center offers over 50 years of experience, providing more than 600,000 patients and their families that have placed their trust in the clinic, the best medical and personal treatment possible.

A 75,000 m2 facility spanning 50 medical departments and 10 specialized areas, and counting on more than 2,000 doctors and professionals to offer the best possible service. All radiodiagnostic and medical and surgical treatments tests are conducted on site. The clinical features 250 beds, 15 operating rooms, an ICU for adults and children, and a Special Hospitalization Area, among other resources.

Accredited by the Joint Commission

CUN has been accredited by the Joint Commission International (JCI) since 2004 due to the quality and safety of the hospital. IN 2014, it was the first center in Spain to gain accreditation from Joint Commission International for University Hospitals. Also, it has been accredited as Center of Excellence for the incorporation of palliative care and oncological treatment by EMSO.

Source: Gibraltar Chronical

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