Gene modified T cell therapy trials in soft tissue sarcoma are yielding exciting results, but they are HLA restricted and require positive tumour antigen expression for this rare cancer. This results in low rates of patient identification. Cell therapies also have a complex patient pathway from leukapheresis, product manufacturing and cell infusion. Moreover, limited clinical sites deliver these trials as few sites have suitable infrastructure to deliver them and the studies themselves often target rare disease groups. To maximise patient access, there is a need to optimise the referrals process and pathways for sarcoma cell therapy clinical trials
This study undertook an online, UK wide survey of sarcoma oncologists focusing on the current referral routes and practices to identify gaps in the referrals process and maximise patient access to cell therapy clinical trials. This work was coordinated by The Christie (iMATCH initiated) and was supported by a grant from GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).
We can report that while there is a good level of awareness of cell therapy trials amongst sarcoma oncologists, the survey findings highlight several knowledge and communication gaps amongst responders and their respective MDTs. There is a need to optimise the cell therapy referrals process and wider referral network to maximise patient access to these novel clinical trials. In line with this, a referral form proforma is being developed and will be released via the ATTC network.
This work has facilitated engagement with the wider sarcoma referral network. The findings were presented at the virtual event ‘Emerging Advanced Therapies in Soft Tissue Sarcoma’ in September 2022 (hosted by The Christie NHS Foundation Trust and iMATCH and funded by Sarcoma UK). This project has also been presented as a poster at the British Sarcoma Group 2023 conference.
The final report can be found in the ATTC NHS Readiness Toolkit: https://www.theattcnetwork.co.uk/toolkit_section/performance-management-and-metrics
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