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We comment on NHS England's hopes to offer CAR-T immunotherapy as a treatment for blood cancer

Posted by: Research 27 April 2018

NHS England Chief Executive Simon Stevens has announced that the NHS hopes to offer CAR-T immunotherapy as a treatment for blood cancer on the NHS this year. Speaking at the Association of British Pharmaceuticals Industry annual conference, he said that preparations were under way to make CAR-T, or Chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy, available on the NHS, but manufacturers needed to set fair and affordable prices.

Game changing immunotherapy treatment

CAR-T is a type of immunotherapy treatment which has been hailed as a game-changer, which works by harnessing the power of the body’s own immune system, and using it to fight against cancer cells. Early stage trials worldwide have resulted in some astonishing and impressive results in some patients with blood cancer.

Hope for the future of pancreatic cancer treatment

Commenting on the news, Leanne Reynolds, Head of Research at Pancreatic Cancer UK, said: “It is wonderful news that the NHS hopes to make CAR-T immunotherapy available as a treatment for blood cancer later this year, as this offers us hope for the future of pancreatic cancer treatment too. We must now see further research to investigate how this promising new type of therapy can be turned into an effective treatment for pancreatic cancer. Then in years to come, people with pancreatic cancer could benefit far more quickly, because the treatment would already be available on the NHS for another type of cancer.

“People with pancreatic cancer have precious few treatment options for this tough disease, and all too often the treatments which are available to them are not very effective. Less than seven per cent of people with pancreatic cancer will survive beyond five years, so it is vital that we see research to investigate all promising leads that could pave the way to effective new treatments for the future.”