January 2020

First patient to undergo pioneering CAR-T treatment at Manchester Royal Infirmary is recovering well

The first patient to undergo the pioneering CAR-T therapy for cancer at Manchester Royal Infirmary (MRI) has shown promising results following treatment last year.

“This is a ground-breaking new treatment for adult cancer patients at the MRI which uses the patient’s own immune cells, allowing us to create a powerful medicine tailored to an individual’s needs”.

Dr Eleni Tholouli

Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT) was named as one of a very small number of centres in the UK to offer the revolutionary new treatment, widely regarded as the most exciting cancer treatment development in decades, in 2018.

The first patient to benefit from the revolutionary treatment had been diagnosed with large B-cell lymphoma – a type of cancer of the blood and lymph glands – in 2018 after feeling unwell for several months.

She underwent two separate bouts of chemotherapy, which didn’t manage to successfully treat the cancer. It was then she was offered CAR-T therapy at Manchester Royal Infirmary, which is part of MFT.

CAR-T (Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-cell) therapy is a personalised medicine used to treat patients with certain types of leukaemia and lymphoma. It is a highly complex new type of immunotherapy which involves collecting and using the patients’ own immune cells to target their cancer in a process which is completed over a number of weeks.

Dr Eleni Tholouli, Consultant Haematologist and Director of the Adult Stem Cell Transplant and CAR-T Therapy Unit at Manchester Royal Infirmary said: “To see [our patient] have these incredible results in such a short space of time is really encouraging. This reassures us that we have to continue all the hard work and make this therapy available to more patients.”