A study looking at the immune system in people with and without cancer

Cancer type:

All cancer types





This study is looking into how cells of the immune system in people with a solid tumour may differ from the immune systems of healthy people. A solid tumour Open a glossary item is any cancer apart from leukaemia or lymphoma.

We all suffer from many infections Open a glossary item during our lives, but most of these get better without medication. This is due to our body’s immune system, which becomes aware of these infections and then fights them. But in people with cancer, the immune system may not do this so well. Researchers are trying to understand the cells of the immune system in people with cancer. They also want to understand how the immune system in patients with cancer is different to that of healthy people. In future, they hope to use this information to develop a vaccine to treat a range of cancers. If successful, the vaccine may be able to boost how well the body is able to kill cancer cells.

The team would like to learn more about how different immune cells behave at different stages of the cancer journey. For example, how they are affected by treatment. They will ask people with and without cancer to give blood samples and in some cases tissue samples to see if they can find antibodies and immune cells that could fight cancer.

You will not get any direct benefit from taking part in this study, and it is unlikely to change any 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 may be able to enter this study if you are at least 18 years old and are in one of the following situations

  • You have any solid cancer (any cancer apart from leukaemia or lymphoma)
  • You are a friend or relative of someone having treatment for cancer at Southampton General Hospital, are of a similar age and are healthy

You cannot enter this study if you

  • Have a low number of red blood cells (you have anaemia Open a glossary item) – your red blood cell count should be above 11g/dl – you can check this with your doctor
  • Have had a blood transfusion Open a glossary item from a donor in the last 3 weeks
  • Are very unwell

Trial design

This study will look at samples from people with and without cancer.

Everyone taking part will give a series of blood samples for the team to study. If you have had surgery to remove your cancer (or are going to have surgery), the team will ask to look at some of the cancer tissue.

Hospital visits

The number, timing and type of samples you give depend on whether or not you have cancer. And, if you have cancer, whether or not you are having treatment, and the type you are having. Before you join the study, the team will talk to you about how many hospital visits this would mean.

Where possible you will give your blood samples at the same time as you are having other routine blood tests. The team will tell you if you need to make any extra hospital visits for these.

Side effects

As any tissue you give for the study will have already been removed, or will be removed as routine during your surgery, you will not have any side effects from this.

You may 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 Christian Ottensmeier

Supported by

Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)
University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust
University of Southampton

Questions about cancer? Contact our information nurses

Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:


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

Around 1 in 5 people take part in clinical trials

3 phases of trials

Around 1 in 5 people diagnosed with cancer in the UK take part in a clinical trial.

Last reviewed:

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