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Bloodwise responds to new CAR-T cell therapy clinical trial results

The Bloodwise logo. Bloodwise appears in black text against a white background
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04 Jun 2018

Clinical trial results announced at a prestigious medical conference this weekend show the positive progress that is being made in developing and refining CAR-T cell therapies to treat a range of different blood cancers, including myeloma, adult acute lymphoblastic leukaemia and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy (CAR-T) is one of the most promising developments in cancer treatment in recent years. It works by taking immune cells from the patient that are then genetically modified in a laboratory to recognise, seek out and kill cancer cells, providing a personalised treatment for each patient.

CAR-T cell therapies were approved for use in the US last year for the treatment of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukaemia and certain types of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. In April this year NHS England Chief Executive Simon Stevens announced that preparations were underway to make CAR-T cell therapies available on the NHS by the end of 2018.

This weekend’s Annual Conference of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Chicago saw the announcement of promising early results from a number of clinical trials using the pioneering treatment to treat people with a number of different blood cancers.  

Dr Alasdair Rankin, Director of Research and Patient Experience at Bloodwise, said: “CAR-T therapies could be approved by the NHS this year for some forms of blood cancer and these strong clinical trial results show the progress that is constantly being made in refining treatments and reducing side effects. CAR-T therapy is designed to be a one-off treatment, which remains active in the patient for many years. With more patients recruited to clinical trials and results of longer follow-up times reported, it is becoming increasingly clear that in many cases long-term remissions are possible in people with blood cancer.

“Given the progress that has been made worldwide in the last year in developing CAR-T therapies for a number of different blood cancers, we can expect them to play an increasingly significant role in blood cancer treatment, but the path ahead is uncertain and we should not expect CAR-T to replace existing effective treatments. It’s important to note that this exciting new treatment is very expensive and will require significant changes in the way care is delivered in the NHS. CAR-T cell therapy does not work for everyone, and there are still issues of potentially fatal side-effects that need to be carefully managed. When new treatments become available on the NHS, they will only be used to treat a small number of people, for whom all other types of treatment have failed.”