The Christie NHS Foundation Trust, Manchester, has begun to enrol patients on a GSK sponsored clinical trial, NCT03967223. This is a study to assess genetically engineered T Cells, which can detect the tumour antigen, NY-ESO-1, found in tumours including synovial sarcoma, a rare type of cancer that develops in cells around joints and tendons.

This trial involves using an engineered T-cell therapy, for which a patient’s own T cells have been genetically modified to recognise the tumour-specific antigen, NY-ESO-1. When the modified cells (NY-ESO-1-Specific (c259) T Cells) are re-infused into the patient, it is hoped they will recognise and kill tumour cells expressing the NY-ESO-1.

We can now report that in May 2020 the patient was offered the chance to take part in this clinical trial, they had their cells collected for manufacture and the NY-ESO-1-Specific (c259) T Cells were infused back to the patient in November 2020.

Professor Fiona Thistlethwaite, consultant medical oncologist at The Christie, explained:

“This is a complex clinical trial and it’s fantastic to be able to deliver this treatment during COVID-19. It is similar to CAR-T therapy, which can be used to treat blood cancers. It can be a gruelling procedure, so patients need to be relatively young and in good overall condition to be able to cope with the infusion. This is investigational research and outcomes will differ from patient to patient. While this trial is focusing on patients with synovial sarcoma, where there’s currently an unmet need, this new innovative approach opens the door to developing treatments for other solid tumour cancers in the future.”

The infrastructure required to facilitate the set-up of this trial has been supported through the iMATCH project, which The Christie is lead organisation for. iMATCH being one of a network of Advanced Therapy Treatment Centres (ATTCs), sponsored by Innovate UK, to accelerate the adoption of advanced therapies into clinical practice, across the UK.