A study to learn more about how well immune system cells can find cancer

Please note - this trial is no longer recruiting patients. We hope to add results when they are available.

Cancer type:

All cancer types





This study is looking to see how well white blood cells can find cancer, and if having another treatment at the same time helps them to do this better.

Doctors are always looking for new ways to treat cancer. An area researchers are looking into a lot is using cells of the immune system to attack the cancer. One way of doing this is by multiplying a patient’s white blood cells (T cells) in the laboratory, and then giving them back to the patient. Scientists have also used T cells to deliver viruses showing anti cancer activity into cancers in the laboratory.

In both of these treatments it is important that enough T cells reach the cancer. But we know from research that it is difficult to get lymphocytes, including T cells, to move towards a cancer. This limits how well this type of cancer treatment can work. We also know that in doctors’ experience, lymphocytes given through a drip into a vein rarely get to a cancer without the help of other treatments. So researchers need to find ways of improving the cell’s ability to reach the cancer.

This study will look at white blood cells in people before and after their planned course of cancer treatment. The main aim of this study is to see how well white blood cells can find the cancer. And to see if their ability to find the cancer can be improved by the treatment they have.

You will not get any direct benefit from taking part in this study, and it is unlikely to change your treatment plan in any way. But the results of the study will be used to help people with cancer in the future.

Who can enter

You can enter this trial if you

  • Have any solid cancer (apart from basal cell skin cancer)
  • Have cancer that can be measured on a scan
  • Are due to start a course of radiotherapy, chemotherapy, combined radiotherapy and chemotherapy (chemoradiation), or radiofrequency ablation (for people with kidney cancer )
  • Have not had chemotherapy in the last 4 weeks
  • Have not had radiotherapy or radiofrequency ablation (RFA) to the same area before, (if you have had RFA to another tumour in the same or your other kidney you can still take part)
  • Have satisfactory blood tests
  • Are well enough to be up and about for at least half the day (performance status 0, 1 or 2)
  • Will be well enough to complete the treatment your doctor has planned
  • Have either had surgery to stop you becoming pregnant, or you are post menopausal, or willing to use reliable contraception if there is any chance you or your partner could become pregnant
  • Are at least 18 years old

You cannot enter this trial if you

  • Have had any other cancer, apart from carcinoma in situ of the cervix or basal cell skin cancer that was successfully treated
  • Have any other serious physical or mental health condition
  • Are taking steroids (please note, you must never stop taking steroids without speaking to your doctor)
  • Have an infection or any disease causing inflammation (inflammatory disease) that will not have cleared up at the start of the study
  • Are pregnant or breastfeeding

Trial design

This study will recruit 32 people into 4 groups. The group you are in depends on the treatment you are due to have. Having these groups simply helps the researchers when they come to look at the results.

Before and after their planned cancer treatment (which is not part of the study) everyone will have a series of scans. The scan is called a white cell scan, and is already used as routine in hospitals. You have the first white cell scan 2 weeks before you start your cancer treatment.

For your scan, the staff will first take a sample of blood (about 4 tablespoons) from a vein in your arm. They then separate the white cells from this sample and attach a very small dose of radioactive tracer to them. They call this labelling them. It takes 2 to 3 hours. They then put a small plastic needle into a vein in your arm and inject the labelled white cells back into your bloodstream. You then go home.

You come back on the following 2 days to have scans to see where these cells have travelled to in your body. When you have your scans, you will need to lie on your back on a table for about an hour. On the first day the team will use a device called a gamma camera. On the following day the scan will be similar, but will also use a CT scan. Depending on the results of these scans, the team may ask if you would be willing to come back the next day as well for another scan.

You then repeat all of this just after you have finished your course of cancer treatment.

Throughout the study you remain under the care of your specialist cancer doctor.

Hospital visits

Everyone will come to the hospital for the study 6 times altogether.

If you are asked and agree to come back a third day for another scan one or both times, this will mean 7 or 8 visits in total.

Side effects

The total amount of radiation you would have from each set of labelled cells and study scans is about the same as you would get from a whole body CT scan. So the team think that the risk of any problems from this would be very small.

The team recommend that you avoid long amounts of close contact with babies and small children in the first 2 or 3 days after each injection.

You may also have a small bruise where you gave your blood sample.

Recruitment start:

Recruitment end:

How to join a clinical trial

Please note: In order to join a trial you will need to discuss it with your doctor, unless otherwise specified.

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Chief Investigator

Professor Alan Melcher

Supported by

Cancer Research UK
Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)
University of Leeds

Questions about cancer? Contact our information nurses

Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:

Oracle 7674

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Charlie took part in a trial to try new treatments

A picture of Charlie

“I think it’s really important that people keep signing up to these type of trials to push research forward.”

Last reviewed:

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