02:46 GMT29 November 2020
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    Medical Research Council announced that the United Kingdom will conduct the first-ever clinical trial of a combined cell-gene therapy to treat lung cancer in 2015.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The United Kingdom will conduct the first-ever clinical trial of a combined cell-gene therapy to treat lung cancer in 2015, Medical Research Council (MRC) said Friday.

    “The team will now test the treatment in human volunteers, firstly to check that the treatment is safe and then in 56 lung cancer patients to see how effective the gene/cell therapy plus chemotherapy is compared with standard care,” the statement published on the MRC official website said.

    A researcher works near a blood test machine recently developed which is so sensitive it can spot a singe cancer cell lurking among a billion healthy ones during a media availability
    © AP Photo / Stephan Savoia
    The treatment uses donor bone marrow stem cells to activate an anti-cancer gene which triggers a “self-destruct pathway” in cancer, without affecting any healthy cells. The main advantage of the new method, according to the MRC, is that the donor cells do not need to be of a close match to the recipient’s genetic profile.

    During the experiment, every patient will receive about a billion donor cells over three infusions, injected the day after he/she receives chemotherapy. The cells will be created at the Royal Free Hospital in a project funded by the MRC and worth a total of 2.1 billion pounds ($3.16 billion).

    “If clinical trials are successful, our treatment could be transformative for the treatment of lung cancer, and possibly other types of tumour in future, ” Sam Janes, a Professor of Respiratory Medicine at UCL, who will lead the clinical trial, said as quoted by the MRC.

    According to the MRC, lung cancer kills around 34,000 people in the United Kingdom every year.


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