Personalised CAR-T cancer therapies to be available to more people

Personalised CAR-T cancer therapies to be available to more people

The NHS has announced that hundreds more people with cancer will be able to receive personalised CAR-T therapies.

The news comes as NHS England has struck new deals to expand access to the potentially life-saving treatments.

The immunotherapies use a patient’s own immune cells to create a tailored treatment, and will immediately be made available through the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF) for people with one of two forms of blood cancer.

CAR-T, or chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy, involves reprogramming the patient’s own immune system and using immune cells to target their cancer.

The treatments will be provided at highly-specialised NHS centres and involve taking patient’s blood to a laboratory, ‘training’ their immune cells to fight the cancer cells and then administering the treated blood back into the patient.

Up to 215 adult patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma whose cancer has returned within a year of treatment or who have not had success with at least one previous therapy will be eligible for treatment with axicabtagene ciloleucel (Yescarta®) from today each year. Previously patients were required to have tried two or more systemic therapies before they were eligible for Yescarta.

NHS national director for cancer professor Peter Johnson said: “The NHS continues to take great strides forward in cancer care and it is fantastic that through the Cancer Drugs Fund, we can make cutting-edge CAR-T therapies available to hundreds more patients with advanced blood cancers, giving them real hope of a longer and better quality of life.

“The NHS continues to be a world leader when it comes to diagnosing cancer earlier and providing the latest treatments to patients at a price affordable to taxpayers”.


Image by fernando zhiminaicela from Pixabay