Dr Roger Prudham

NCA cancer patients to trial personalised vaccines

Northern Care Alliance NHS Foundation Trust (NCA) is one of 30 NHS sites supporting groundbreaking personalised cancer vaccines.

The investigational vaccines, which use the same mRNA technology found in some Covid vaccines, are created by analysing a patient’s tumour to identify mutations specific to their own cancer. Using this information, scientists then create an experimental individualised cancer vaccine which teaches the body’s immune system to find and destroy cancer cells, so preventing the disease coming back.

People with colorectal (bowel) cancers will be some of the first to receive the vaccines following referral from NCA. Elsewhere, people with skin, lung, pancreatic, kidney and bladder cancers will be involved in the early stages of the study, with more disease groups expected to be added in the future.

The NHS Cancer Vaccine Launch Pad (CVLP)  will mean that people with cancer who are diagnosed through NCA can be assessed to see if they might be eligible to join a cancer vaccine clinical trial, and then quickly referred to a hospital that is running a trial.

Dr Roger Prudham, Lead Cancer Clinician at NCA (pictured), said: “We are pleased to be taking part in the Cancer Vaccine Launchpad (CVLP) initiative working with NHS England and other key partners.

“We want all our patients who are diagnosed with cancer to have equal access to clinical studies irrespective of where or how their diagnosis is made.  Our focus has been recruiting patients to the trial who have been identified with stage III colorectal cancer. As the study evolves, we are well placed to offer CVLP to patients across a number of cancers who may be eligible in future.”

The investigational cancer vaccines being jointly developed by biopharmaceutical companies BioNTech and Genentech, a member of the Roche Group, are still undergoing trials and have not yet been approved by regulators.

The CVLP is recruiting people who have been diagnosed with cancer, either for the first time or for a returning cancer, who are undergoing treatment. For these people, a cancer vaccine may reduce the risk of the cancer coming back in the future.

Not everybody who has been diagnosed or is having treatment for cancer will be eligible for a trial. Eligibility will depend on which trials within the CVLP are actively recruiting patients and the eligibility criteria for those trials.

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