In the first 10 years our focus was on research and buying equipment for the hospital.
The charity developed from the merger of two local appeals – the Selectron Appeal and HOPE (Home Oncology Programme Exeter), under the clinical direction of FORCE co-founder Dr Chris Rowland.
HOPE enabled patients to receive treatment at home rather than in hospital while continuing with normal activities of daily living, giving them a greater sense of control over their own lives.
Dr Rowland also investigated the scientific basis for this method of treatment, conducting research into which chemotherapy drugs could be given in this way and how the body dealt with them, so as to establish the best treatment for that patient.
Putting Exeter on the map
Pioneered in Exeter, home infusional chemotherapy was a huge success and became available across the UK and around the world.
Also in 1987, with support through FORCE, Dr Rowland brought individualised radiotherapy in the form of high dose-rate internal Selectron treatment to Exeter. He and his team undertook pivotal work with this treatment machine, making Exeter the first centre in the world to develop its use in a wide range of cancers. As a result of this work, such radiotherapy treatment equipment is now standard nationally and internationally.
Through the success of the Selectron work and the HOPE programme, Exeter became firmly established on the national and international cancer research map.
In 1991 FORCE appointed a clinical research assistant, and it was this post which became the foundation for the highly successful clinical research programme at the Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital today.