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First patient in Wales to begin CAR-T personalised therapy

Centrifuged blood samples


John Davies will become the first person in Wales to recieve CAR-T therapy, after his blood was taken on 11 November 2019 to harvest healthy T-cells

A patient in Wales will become the first in the country to start chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CAR-T) therapy after other treatments for his lymphoma were unsuccessful.

John Davies, aged 71 years, underwent a series of tests before being deemed suitable for the personalised immunotherapy at University Hospital of Wales (UHW), in Cardiff.

As part of the process, samples of Davies’s blood were collected on 11 November 2019, from which his healthy T-cells were then separated and transported to Amsterdam in a special cooling box. The cells were then transported to California for modification so that they can recognise cancer cells.

The engineered cells will then be transported back to Amsterdam and then on to UHW to be administered to the patient, by a pharmacist, in a month’s time. The hope is that the therapy, which will be given intravenously, will help to fight Davies’s cancer and restore his normal immune function.

Keith Wilson, lead clinician and consultant haematologist at UHW, said that this was a “significant” moment for precision medicine in Wales.

“About 50% of patients will respond positively to CAR-T treatment so the next stage after the engineered cells are reintroduced into the patient will be to monitor their progress closely,” he said.

“With each treatment created specifically for the individual patient, it’s truly a ground-breaking treatment at the forefront of personalised medicine. This is precision medicine at its best.”

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2019.20207328

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