University of Southampton researchers have developed a revolutionary new form of treatment, known as Immunotherapy, which uses a person’s internal functions to fight cancer.
The research has been conducted by specialists, and has had positive test results on a number of patients being treated at Southampton General Hospital.
Early forecasts suggest that a cancer immunotherapy vaccine could be available within 15 years, developed within a new state-of-the-art facility being built in the grounds of the Tremona Road hospital.
The Southampton Centre for Cancer Immunology, which will cost £25 million to build, will attract the finest cancer research brains under one roof and transform the lives of tens of thousands of patients who will benefit from their discoveries. It will create 60 new jobs and put Southampton firmly on the world treatment stage.
Tim Elliott, professor of experimental oncology at the University of Southampton, will be the director of the new centre.
This is the first time researchers have felt comfortable talking about a cure. The excitement comes from the fact that there are now trials of Immunotherapy to drugs,
Part of the reason that cancer is so dangerous is often the lack of effective treatment. However, Southampton scientists have made what could be a potentially game-changing breakthrough in their attempts to find a cure.
After years of minimal progression in the field, Immunotherapy, which supercharges the immune system to recognise and destroy cancerous cells, could provide the answer. Additionally, the treatment may actually provide patients with long-lasting protection against future growth.
I think we will see vaccines used in Immunotherapy in patients with all types of cancer within 15 years.
Professor Elliott, who has worked ceaselessly for 35 years examining cells in the human body, is now seeing the positive results of his extensive research, with patients previously diagnosed as terminally ill far outliving that forecast, and sometimes leaving the process cancer-free.
Jac Samuel, senior Cancer Research UK nurse, heads up the specialist nursing team offering the trials to cancer patients in Southampton.
“What we are working on now will be the treatment of the future,” she explained, adding that clinical trials were “absolutely vital” in getting the revolutionary research out of the lab and to the patients.
Professor Martin Glennie, head of cancer science at the University of Southampton, expressed his huge satisfaction at the test results.
More than 90 per cent of patients treated with immunotherapy who have survived more than two years remain cancer free.
Cancer is one of the most devastating illnesses on the planet; relatively incurable, and potentially fatal, there were an estimated 2.5 million people living in the UK in 2015 who were diagnosed with the disease.
For further information, and to help fund the new centre, please visit southampton.ac.uk/youreit or text YOUREIT to 70660 to donate £3.