Text Resize

-A +A

Lung cancer stem cell therapy to be trialled at UCLH

Lung cancer stem cell therapy to be trialled at UCLH

Patients at UCL Hospitals will be the first in the world to receive a pioneering cell therapy that scientists hope will transform the treatment of lung cancer. The treatment uses stem cells taken from bone marrow that have been genetically modified to find and destroy cancer cells.

Lung cancer patients currently face one of the worst survival rates amongst cancer patients, with only 5% of those diagnosed surviving beyond 10 years.

A small clone of abnormal cells growing in a patient's airway (pictured above).

Lung cancer kills around 34,000 people a year in the UK. If successful this treatment will offer new hope to cancer patients and their families. The research will be led by Professor Sam Janes, a consultant at UCLH, who leads the Lungs for Living Research Centre, supported by UCL Hospitals Charitable Foundation.

Early indications suggest that cell-based therapies could have a major impact on cure rates and survival times for patients. 'Cancers need something new. Chemotherapy works minimally and for a short while. This is truly experimental', Professor Sam Janes said.

The trial will involve 56 patients who will begin treatment in early 2016. The group have all been diagnosed with metastatic lung cancer, at which point patients are usually only offered palliative care or treatments expected to extend life by a few months. The therapy works by modifying donor stem cells so that they express an anti-cancer gene called Trail that usually works in immune cells. The modified cells are strongly attracted to tumours and when they bind to them they trigger a 'suicide pathway' in cancer cells. The treatment has been shown to completely elmininate or significantly reduce tumours in mice, but until now it has not been tested in human patients. 'This will be the first cell therapy for lung cancer and the biggest manufacturing of cells of its kind' said Professor Sam Janes.

Lungs for Living, a fundraising group set up under UCL Hospitals Charitable Foundation, raises funds for the lung cancer research led by Professor Janes.  UCL Hospitals Charitable Foundation is working with some of the world's most respected and experienced researchers and clinicians to develop an integrated lung cancer research facility at UCLH for Professor Janes and his team.  Money donated will go towards funding a translational research centre that will encompass clinical trialists, translational clinical studies and bio-banking, experimental medicine bench work and basic science. The researchers will have the common goal of biological discovery and improving patient care.




If you would like to make a donation to Lungs for Living please click here. For more information on the project please go to www.lungsforliving.co.uk.   If you would like more information on how you can make a donation please click here or call Shirley Featherstone on 0203 447 9558.

Thank you for your support.