Tuesday 27th November 2018

The first young people with cancer who will be able to receive CAR-T Therapy this week are at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London and at the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, where Teenage Cancer Trust has a specialist unit. 

There are three subsequent centres where the personalised therapy for cancer will be available to young people with cancer in the coming months – UCLH, Manchester Royal Infirmary, The Christie NHS Foundation Trust and the University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust. Teenage Cancer Trust either has a unit or funds specialist staff at all of these sites.   

CAR-T Therapy involves taking cells from a patient's own immune system and reprogramming them to target cancer. Clinical trials have shown CAR-T therapy to cure some patients, including those with advanced cancers where other treatments have failed. 

According to NHS England ‘up to 200 patients a year will receive the treatment after NHS England negotiated a confidential deal with the manufacturer.’ 

Tanya Curry, Director of Services at Teenage Cancer Trust said: 

It’s fantastic news that young people with cancer will be some of the first people to benefit from this pioneering and potentially life-changing treatment. Teenage Cancer Trust has 28 specialist cancer units in hospitals across the UK including Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital and UCLH where the treatment is set to offer new hope to young people and their families in time for Christmas. This is a significant development that requires ongoing monitoring and we’re committed to continuing to work closely with the NHS to ensure all young people with cancer get access to clinically relevant treatments.

NHS EnglandSimon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England said: “CAR-T shows immense promise, and the NHS is now leading from the front by ensuring patients in England among the first in the world to benefit. As we develop our Long Term Plan for cancer services this is one of the first in what is expected to be a growing number of personalised treatments available for NHS patients.” 

Teenage Cancer Trust welcomed the initial announcement back in September and you can find out more about CAR-T Therapy and how it works on NHS England’s website.