The Challenges with Cancer Trials | Breakthrough

ANDRE CHOULIKA: We didn’t have
any intention of injecting these type of vials to
patient because we needed a lot of vials to
be able to file our clinical trial application. And this was planned to be done
with the University College London. NARRATOR: Before any new
medication or therapy is considered safe
and effective, it must first be rigorously
tested through clinical trials. These trials are
fundamental in determining an experimental treatment’s
dosage and safety and to identify any
possible side effects. At the University
College London, Great Ormond Street Institute of
Child Health, Professor Waseem Qasim was working with Cellectis
as the principal investigator, taking the universal CAR
T-cells from the lab to trials. Normally, this process
can take over a decade, with nearly endless
layers of approval. So our questions were what
do you do if your patient is already so unwell that
you can’t collect cells; or has had so much chemotherapy
that there’s no white blood cells left to collect, that you
think are going to be useful; how do you do this process
in a way that can be done quickly and delivered
back to the patient in a timely manner? And the answer to
that is perhaps being able to use a product,
a cell product, that’s been made beforehand,
that can be given back to multiple patients. Now in order to do that, we
have to overcome the barrier of transplantation,
which means if I put my cells into a
nonmatched individual, the cells firstly will want to
react against that individual because they will know the
individuals is foreign. And secondly, the person
receiving the cells will try and reject
them because they know the cells are not their own. NARRATOR: In affiliation
with Professor Qasim, Doctor Paul Veys works
on the front line with patients who
desperately need new cancer treatment options. I’ll have treated well over
3,000 patients and at least 600 of those will have gone wrong. So there’s a lot of
patients that we lose. It’s unsuccessful. You’ve got to be able
to come in the next day. Even from our failures,
we’ve learned lots. And if we hadn’t gone
through those failures, we wouldn’t be having some of
the successes we have today. Has the chest has
always been good? He’s not had any big
chest infections? NURSE: No. It’s not good. Let’s warm it up. Sit forward again. Yeah. Perfect. OK. Big breaths.


  1. Thank you for continuing your search on ways to help cancer patients. I have lost 2 sisters and my Mom and several friends because treatment (chemo, etc.)was not sufficient and there are no other options but to go home and wait to die.

  2. Finding the most effective and appropriate treatment for each and every individual is a huge task.

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