I’m still trying to get my head around today! It may just be the most amazing thing to happen to the AccessCMLDrugs campaign to date. Tom Watson who is the Member of Parliament for West Bromwich East, Deputy Chair of the Labour Party and the Labour Party’s Campaign Co-ordinator has agreed to support our cause!

We met this afternoon in West Bromwich and spent some time going over the issues affecting CML patients, namely the unavailability of dasatinib. We discussed, in detail, the STOP trial data, the effectiveness of dasatinib, what the TKI (tyrosine kinase inhibitor) drugs mean to CML patients, survival rates and the cancer drug fund. I told him about our campaign so far and how hard it is get our voice heard, especially by NICE, the pharmaceuticals and his own party. He agreed that it is important to ensure that all CML drugs are available to patients, free at the point of delivery. He has told me that he will do all he can to support us, he looked me in the eye and he told me that he believed in what we are trying to do.

To say I was blown away is an understatement. Tom is one of the most powerful men in politics today and I’d gone prepared; I’d even taken my box of dasatinib to show him what this is all about. He was sharp, working out quickly how much the NHS could save if the STOP trials findings are conclusive and adopted in England. These being the ongoing trials where 40% of patients who achieve CMR (Complete Molecular Remission) over a period of time come off their drugs and don’t need them again. The other 60% take the drugs again and the leukaemia goes back into remission. Hopefully you never tire of me writing about this as a cure for cancer.

So that’s it in a nutshell. Tom wants me to put a report together and propose how I want him to help out. He was sincere, friendly and genuinely interested in leukaemia and blood cancer patients. I sat in my car for 20 minutes afterwards just taking everything in, it was emotional. The implication on what we are trying to achieve is huge and having someone like Tom behind us is simply fantastic (sadly that doesn’t feel like a big enough word).

I need to start gathering research and writing up that report but in the meantime I’m sure you will join me in thanking Tom for taking an interest in a handful of poorly people and their little fight to stop a big disease. Thank you.


Tom Watson MP and Kris Griffin

Tom Watson, Member of Parliament (MP) for West Bromwich East, Deputy Chair of the Labour Party and the Labour Party’s Campaign Co-ordinator, with CML campaigner and patient Kris Griffin