HEALTH Hos­pi­tals team up to of­fer new can­cer trial

South Wales Echo - - HEALTH -

TWO Welsh hos­pi­tals have joined forces to of­fer a pi­o­neer­ing can­cer treat­ment as part of a clin­i­cal trial.

For the first time, the Clin­i­cal Re­search Fa­cil­ity (CRF) at the Univer­sity Hos­pi­tal of Wales (UHW), Velin­dre Can­cer Cen­tre’s Clin­i­cal Tri­als Unit (CTU) and TC BioPharm Ltd have united to de­liver a study look­ing into an im­munother­apy treat­ment in pa­tients with ad­vanced can­cers.

Im­munother­a­pies har­ness the hu­man im­mune sys­tem to fight can­cer, in much the same way as your body might fight a cold.

With­out this col­lab­o­ra­tion, this com­plex new treat­ment would not have been avail­able to pa­tients in Wales.

This Phase IIb clin­i­cal trial is look­ing into a new form of tar­geted, cell ther­apy treat­ment for pa­tients with solid tu­mours by us­ing the body’s own lym­pho­cytes to try and boost the im­mune sys­tem into de­stroy­ing the can­cer cells.

The study will look how safe the Im­mu­niCell treat­ment is, whether it has anti-can­cer ac­tiv­ity and also how a pa­tient’s im­mune re­sponse changes fol­low­ing treat­ment.

This study is be­ing of­fered to pa­tients with melanoma, re­nal cell can­cer or non-small cell lung can­cer in the hope that boost­ing the body’s nat­u­ral im­mune sys­tem can fight can­cer cells. If this early phase trial is suc­cess­ful then it is hoped that more pa­tients can re­ceive this type of treat­ment.

The first pa­tient in Wales has been suc­cess­fully en­rolled into this study and it’s hoped many more will fol­low.

The leuka­phere­sis team in the depart­ment of haema­tol­ogy at UHW suc­cess­fully ob­tained cells of a high enough qual­ity from the pa­tient to en­able the com­pany – TC BioPharm – to man­u­fac­ture Im­mu­niCell for a full course of treat­ment.

Due to the na­ture of early phase clin­i­cal tri­als, re­searchers are not yet sure what im­pact this treat­ment will have on the pa­tient’s can­cer, and only when a larger num­ber of pa­tients are treated will the trial be able to as­sess early signs of ac­tiv­ity.

Dr Rob Jones, who leads Phase 1 Clin­i­cal Tri­als at Velin­dre, said: “This is a very ex­cit­ing time and will hope­fully open doors for fu­ture suc­cess­ful col­lab­o­ra­tions en­abling us to of­fer more com­plex stud­ies to pa­tients in Wales.

“A col­lab­o­ra­tion of this na­ture has been dis­cussed for many years be­tween both teams, and we are proud to have to come to­gether to de­liver this study to­gether with TC BioPharm which will we hope will help im­prove fu­ture anti-can­cer treat­ments.”

The Wales Can­cer Re­search Cen­tre was in­stru­men­tal in bring­ing the two sites to­gether.

Dr Steve Knap­per, who is in­ves­ti­gat­ing the trial at the Clin­i­cal Re­search Fa­cil­ity, said: “This case proves that by suc­cess­ful work­ing to­gether and col­lab­o­rat­ing within health­care you can po­ten­tially have a pos­i­tive im­pact into the health and well­be­ing of pa­tients in Wales.

“Both re­search and de­vel­op­ment de­part­ments at Velin­dre Can­cer Cen­tre and Univer­sity Hos­pi­tal of Wales were in­stru­men­tal in mak­ing this col­lab­o­ra­tion pos­si­ble.

“Many teams have pulled to­gether to of­fer pa­tients a new treat­ment that we hope will lead to im­proved pa­tient treat­ments and out­comes.”

The am­bi­tion is to in­crease the num­ber of early phase stud­ies open in Wales to give Welsh pa­tients more treat­ment op­tions closer to home.

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