TUF scholar: “It put me on the track for the rest of my career”

16/04/2020

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Matthew Perry was one of our first TUF scholars back in 1997. He was a first-year registrar and received funding from TUF to do a research project. He has now been a consultant urologist for 15 years and credits TUF for putting him on track.

“That put me on track for the rest of my career”

Matthew Perry was one of our first TUF scholars back in 1997. He was a first-year registrar and received funding from TUF to do a research project.

“I knew I wanted to do urology and I wanted to do some research to show my commitment to urology as a field,” he recalls.

“TUF funded me to look for a vaccine for prostate cancer. It was way ahead of its time, looking at immune responses to cancer. It’s all the rage now, but back then it was a bit of a punt.

“I was making a vaccine in a lab at St George’s and then giving it to men at the hospital. It was really hard work. I was learning a whole new set of laboratory skills and trying to understand what all the results were about.”

Matthew now specialises in pelvic oncology, doing robotic surgery for prostate and bladder cancer.

“That research got me started with an interest in prostate cancer and cancer treatments overall. That really fired me up and put me on the track for the rest of my career.”

Matthew became a consultant at St George’s in 2005, where he learned to carry out robotic surgery when the hospital got its robot in 2007.

“I’ve been doing robotic urology ever since. I introduced the robotic cystectomy programme for bladder cancer at St George’s and then at the Royal Surrey in Guildford.”

Matthew now operates at the Royal Surrey, and over the course of his career he has treated many patients. “It must be a couple of thousand by now,” he estimates.

In November, Matthew completed a 390 km bike ride across Costa Rica to raise money for TUF.

“I was thinking about the possibility of giving something back to TUF. Then the opportunity arose and it was the right time,” he says.

“It was hard – much harder than it seemed in the brochure! I’m not a cyclist, I had to buy a bike and do a fair bit of training for it.

“It was really worthwhile. I’d consider doing it again, but maybe in a couple of years!”

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