A UCLH patient has received T-cell therapy for advanced lung cancer in a world first.

The innovative and personalised therapy – developed by the biopharmaceutical company Achilles Therapeutics – involves the collection of a patient’s blood and tumour samples in order to manufacture individual patient tumour-specific T-cells. These T-cells are then infused into the blood to seek out and eliminate cells in the tumour known as ‘clonal neoantigens’.

Researchers say the clonal neoantigen T-cell (cNeT) therapy has the potential to transform the treatment of cancer.

For the CHIRON study led by Dr Martin Forster, a Consultant Medical Oncologist at UCLH who is supported by the NIHR biomedical research centre at UCLH, researchers will give the cNeT therapy as a single dose to up to 40 patients who have advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) – where the 5-year survival rate is just 5%.

They will first be looking at whether the treatment is safe and tolerable for patients, whilst monitoring to see if the treatment reduces tumour size and can improve survival. The study is taking place at sites across the UK.

NSCLC is responsible for 80% of all lung cancer cases. Lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer-related death worldwide with over 1.6 million deaths per year.

Dr Forster said: “We have been working closely with the Achilles team to design and set up this study across the UK, and are delighted to be dosing the first non-small cell lung cancer patient with this innovative experimental cell therapy here at UCLH, the lead clinical site.”

Dr Iraj Ali, CEO of Achilles Therapeutics, said: “NSCLC remains one of the most prevalent and poorly served of the solid tumours. The CHIRON study is an entirely personalised cell therapy designed to be exquisitely specific and effective and has the potential to help us fundamentally change how certain cancers are treated.”