25 Jun 2019 Research

Championing groundbreaking therapies and emotional support

The groundbreaking new cell therapy, CAR-T has been offered for the first time on the NHS to eligible patients with non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) and acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) at King’s College Hospital, London.

CAR-T cell therapy is a pioneering treatment that genetically reprogrammes patients’ immune systems to fight cancer.

Professor Antonio Pagliuca, Professor of Stem Cell Transplantation at King’s College London and Chair of Leukaemia UK’s medical panel, is part of the team which leads on this revolutionary therapy. Commenting on the importance of this development, he said:

“CAR-T is a novel and ground-breaking new cell therapy for certain patients with NHL and ALL. These patients have typically failed to respond to their prior treatments and are now in a very difficult place both physically and emotionally. It is thanks to the innovative Leukaemia UK Mind & Body team at King’s that we are able to support these patients emotionally as well as physically.”

He added: “Thanks to CAR-T therapy, patients appear to be in remission, however we are in the early phases of treatment and the follow-up is short, but we are hopeful that we’re on the right path to finding a cure. This is the start of a new innovative era of therapies and following these promising results, CAR-T therapy will now be rolled out by the NHS for eligible NHL and ALL patients in designated hospitals across the UK.”

Leukaemia UK is also proud to be at the forefront of funding innovative research into gene therapy treatments.

A decade ago, Leukaemia UK funded a substantial research project at King’s College Hospital which allowed researchers to carry out the world’s first trial of combination immune gene therapy to treat leukaemia patients who had reached the end of conventional treatment options.

Our financial support also enabled scientists to pioneer an entirely new vaccination strategy for treatment across a range of leukaemias and solid tumours.

King’s now produces a major proportion of GMP [Good Manufacturing Practice] grade vector for gene therapy programmes in this country and across a number of centres in Europe. These vectors are the genes inserted into cells to force those cells to target bad cells and kill them. This programme is ongoing.

For more news about CAR-T in the media click on BBC News link.

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