£500,000 gift for treatment of head and neck cancer
Six thousand cases of squamous cell carcinoma, which accounts for 90 per cent of head and neck cancer, are diagnosed globally each year. Patients with an advanced form of the disease have a survival rate of just six months.
King’s Health Partners – which comprises King’s College London, King’s College Hospital, Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospitals and the South London and Maudsley Foundation Trusts – recently received a gift of £509,000 from a British medical research philanthropist to help fight head and neck cancer.
In order to fight this disease King’s Health Partners is trialling a method which uses T-cells (white blood cells, which play a role in attacking cancerous cells) to target the molecules that cause squamous cell carcinoma.
T-cell immunotherapy is not a new approach, but King’s Health Partners is engineering new receptors for T-cells to find molecules that are present in high levels in cancer cells (ie artificial targets). The new receptors will allow a T-cell to attach to the targets on the surface of the cancer cell. The T-cell will be activated by the receptor and then attack and kill the cancer cell.
As well as being a significant step forward in the treatment of head and neck cancer, the team’s research promises to impact future treatments for a number of other cancers.
The World questions|King’s answers campaign is raising funds for the Integrated Cancer Centre at Guy's. The centre brings medical research and treatment together, so that clinicians and researchers benefit from each other’s expertise.
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