BY SAM WALKER
A hospital has become the first in the UK to use a new treatment therapy for a type of blood cancer.
King’s College Hospital has pioneered a treatment aimed at fighting lymphoma, a blood cancer which attacks cells that defend the body against infection.
One of the first patients to receive the treatment was 62-year-old Mike Simpson, a solicitor, who started his battle with cancer in 2015 and whose chemotherapy was not successful.
The married father-of-two, who started getting back pain in 2018, was told his cancer had returned after twice fighting it off.
He said: “In October 2018, I began experiencing back pain, stomach discomfort and severe vomiting, so I went for more tests and was given the news the cancer was back.
“When I was given the opportunity to have the therapy at King’s I jumped at it”.
Mike was hit hard by the therapy, but is responding well. He added: “I’m incredibly grateful for being given the opportunity to have this therapy as I know it’s a costly, one-time treatment.
I describe it as my L’Oreal treatment… because I’m worth it.”
The therapy, called CART, is effective in around 40-50 per cent of cases, including patients who have not responded well to chemotherapy.
CART stands for Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-cell. Dr Victoria Potter, consultant haematologist and director of Stem Cell Transplantation at King’s, said: “In cases such as Mike`s, CART therapy is a last resort when other treatments have failed.
“Although it does not work for everyone, from what we have observed in clinical trials this type of personalised medicine offers real hope for lymphoma patients who otherwise would have limited options.
“We are very hopeful this treatment will be a game-changer for our patients.”
All CART patients are screened for anxiety and depression, and receive mental health support to cope with the effects of the treatment.