Volunteers needed for a clinical trial to advance research into blood cancer
A team at the University of Birmingham’s School of Cancer Sciences and the CRUK Clinical Trials Unit is looking for volunteers for a study aiming to improve the outcome of stem cell transplantation (SCT) for blood cancers.
Transplantation is often used for the treatment of patients with leukaemia or lymphoma in whom standard chemotherapy is unable to control the disease. This is achieved by the donation of blood cells from a healthy donor, replacing a patient’s diseased blood cells.
While this procedure is effective in curing some patients, current research at Birmingham is seeking to improve the success rates further and prevent some of the life-threatening complications of SCT. One way to do this is to select immune cells from donors that are good at killing leukaemia or lymphoma (i.e. cancer) cells in the patient.
A team in Birmingham’s School of Cancer Sciences, led by Professor Paul Moss and Dr Ram Malladi, is aiming to achieve this by generating immune cells from donors that specifically target a protein expressed on blood forming cells. This protein is called HA-1 and is found on blood forming cells in approximately 70% of the general population. These individuals are called HA-1 positive and in HA-1 positive patients with leukaemia or lymphoma, the HA-1 protein is expressed on cancer cells as well as normal cells. The remaining 30% of the population, called HA-1 negative, do not have the HA-1 protein on their blood forming cells. This means that when cells are transplanted from an HA-1 negative donor into an HA-1 positive patient, the incoming donor immune cells will recognise the patient’s HA-1-expressing malignant cells as “foreign”, and remove them. Professor Moss and Dr Malladi’s team is currently running a clinical trial to vaccinate healthy HA-1 negative individuals with a DNA vaccine encoding the HA-1 gene. The purpose of this vaccine study is to assess whether the new HA-1 vaccine is safe and whether, when administered to healthy volunteers, it is able to generate HA-1-targeting immune cells that can then kill malignant leukaemia or lymphoma cells.
For more information, please get in touch with Shamyla Siddique at HA1@trials.bham.ac.uk or telephone 0121 371 4396. The study will require several short visits to an outpatient clinic in Birmingham. A response to this advertisement will be recorded but carries no obligation to take part. If you volunteer, you can withdraw at any time from the trial.