Man treated in Birmingham becomes first Bowel Cancer patient in England to receive personalised jab

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The man was treated at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.

A man with bowel cancer has become the first person in England to be treated with a personalised jab for the disease on the NHS.

Elliot Pfebve, a 55-year-old man diagnosed with bowel cancer, has become the first person in England to receive a personalised jab for the disease on the NHS. The treatment took place at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.

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Health leaders have hailed this as “a landmark moment” for patients and the NHS.

Pfebve, a higher education lecturer and father of four, was diagnosed with bowel cancer following a routine health check with his GP. After a 30cm tumour was removed from his large intestine, he was referred to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham for chemotherapy and to participate in the clinical trial.

He said: “Taking part in this trial tallies with my profession as a lecturer, and as a community-centred person. I want to impact other people’s lives positively and help them realise their potential. Through the potential of this trial, if it is successful, it may help thousands, if not millions, of people, so they can have hope and may not experience all I have gone through. I hope this will help other people.”

The vaccine, developed jointly by BioNTech and Genentech, uses mRNA technology. It works by identifying specific mutations in a patient’s tumour, which clinicians then use to create a personalised treatment. The jab is designed to stimulate a patient’s immune system after surgery to remove tumours, enabling it to recognise and attack any remaining cancer cells.

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Birmingham Man first to get personalised Bowel Cancer jabBirmingham Man first to get personalised Bowel Cancer jab
Birmingham Man first to get personalised Bowel Cancer jab | REDPIXEL -

Dr Victoria Kunene, a consultant clinical oncologist at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham and principal investigator for the trial, said: “The investigational cancer vaccines are based on mRNA and are created by analysing a patient’s tumour to identify mutations specific to their own cancer.”

The trial is part of NHS England’s Cancer Vaccine Launch Pad, which aims to fast-track patients to receive vaccines at the earliest opportunity.

NHS England chief executive Amanda Pritchard said: “Seeing Elliot receive his first treatment as part of the Cancer Vaccine Launch Pad is a landmark moment for patients and the health service as we seek to develop better and more effective ways to stop this disease.”

Professor Peter Johnson, national clinical director for cancer at the NHS, added: “We know that even after a successful operation, cancers can sometimes return because a few cancer cells are left in the body, but using a vaccine to target those remaining cells may be a way to stop this happening.”

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Thirty hospitals in England are currently participating in the initiative, with more expected to join in the coming months.

“It’s incredibly exciting that patients in England are beginning to access personalised cancer vaccines for bowel cancer.” Says, Cancer Research UK's executive director of research and innovation, Iain Foulkes

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