Chorley woman becomes first patient at The Christie to receive new cancer treatment

Carol Livesey, who lives in Chorley,  has become the first patient to be treated using revolutionary CAR-T at The Christie NHS Foundation Trust.
Carol Livesey, who lives in Chorley, has become the first patient to be treated using revolutionary CAR-T at The Christie NHS Foundation Trust.
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A Chorley mum has become the first patient to be treated using revolutionary cancer therapy CAR-T at The Christie NHS Foundation Trust.

Carol Livesey has received the ‘personalised’ treatment which was made available to appropriate and eligible patients following an NHS England announcement last year.

Carol, 61, was diagnosed with lymphoma in March 2018 but after both chemotherapy and radiotherapy failed, she was referred for CAR-T.

Carol said: “I am very excited to be put forward for such a groundbreaking treatment as the CAR-T cell therapy but also a little anxious as with all procedures it comes with risks but I am in safe hands at The Christie with a great team to care for me.

“My daughter has done so much to help me this year and my son and his wife live in France.

“I love them all so much and this treatment will give me the opportunity to be with them for longer.”

CAR-T involves removing immune cells and modifying them in a laboratory so they can recognise cancer cells.

Immune cells, called T-cells, are taken from a sample of the patient’s blood and reprogrammed in the lab to create ones that are genetically coded to recognise and destroy the patient’s cancer cells.

This ’living therapy’ is then given to the patient.

The CAR-T treatment Carol received involved several steps over a number of weeks.

First Carol’s blood was taken and sent off to the Novartis laboratory in the United States of America, where her blood was ‘trained’ to fight the cancer cells.

The CAR-T blood was then transported back to the hospital and Carol was administered with the CAR-T to treat their condition.

When these CAR-T cells are given back to the patient as an infusion, the new receptors enable them to recognise specific proteins in the cancer cells and kill them.

Consultant haematologist Adrian Bloor, who is leading Carol’s care, said: “CAR-T therapy offers the potential to transform treatment for patients with aggressive lymphoma who have not responded to conventional chemotherapy. “Prognosis with standard treatment is very poor but emerging data suggests that CAR-T treatment can lead to durable remissions in a significant proportion of patients.”

CAR-T therapy is designed to be a one-off treatment for people with advanced or progressing blood cancers, who have limited treatment options open to them.

Mari Scheiffele, general manager of Novartis Oncology UK and Ireland, said: “Novartis is a pioneer of CAR-T – a truly individualised form of cancer therapy with the potential to save lives.

“The ability to deliver this highly innovative treatment to patients has required a level of collaboration like never before between the teams at The Christie and Novartis.

“We are proud of the partnership we have formed and very much hope it will lead to positive outcomes for many patients.”