Governments in the UK and Australia have now committed to funding CAR-T cell therapy, but initially only for patients with relapsed leukaemia or lymphoma. However, only a few CAR-T cell treatment centres and laboratories will be funded by Governments, at university-based hospitals in both countries.
For patients with most types of cancer, this means that the chances of getting onto an Australia or UK-based clinical trial of CAR-T cell therapy remain fairly small. At present, each clinical trial tends to only enroll patients with one (or two) cancers, and requires testing first for suitable protein targets for CAR-T cells on patients’ cancers.
Nevertheless, these are first steps to making CAR-T cell therapy more widely available to patients with a range of different cancers over the next five to ten years. And, at the same time, there will be a push to bring CAR-T cell therapy forward – so patients don’t have to wait until their cancer has relapsed several times before moving to this therapy.