A trial looking at MFEz T cells, chemotherapy and IL-2 (interleukin 2) for cancers that test positive for carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) (PH1/105)

Cancer type:

All cancer types




Phase 1

This trial looked at a new type of gene therapy with chemotherapy and a biological therapy called IL-2 (interleukin). This trial was for people with cancer that tested positive for carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) Open a glossary item. The gene therapy was called MFEz T cells (pronounced M-F-E-Z T-cells). Some cancer cells have a protein called CEA on the surface of the cell. The research team hoped that the MFEz T cells would recognise the cancer cells with CEA on them and kill them. This trial was supported by Cancer Research UK.

T cells are white blood cells that fight infection. They are one of several types of white blood cells that make up the body’s immune system. In this trial the doctors removed some of the T cells from patients’ blood. They changed these T cells in the laboratory so they would attack CEA. These changed T cells were called MFEz T cells. The doctors gave patients back the MFEz T cells through a drip.

Patients had chemotherapy before the MFEz T cells. The chemotherapy was given to kill other blood cells made by the immune system and stop them from attacking the MFEz T cells. The researchers thought this would help the MFEz T cells survive for longer in your body. The other blood cells would grow back later. Patients also had IL-2 after the MFEz T cells. The researchers thought IL-2 would help the MFEz T cells survive and work better.

The aims of this trial were to find out

  • The best dose of MFEz T cells to give together with chemotherapy and IL 2
  • What the side effects of this treatment were
  • How well this treatment worked

Summary of results

The trial team found the highest dose of MFEz T cells to give with the chemotherapy and IL2, how well it worked and about the side effects.

Of the 23 people this trial recruited, 14 had treatment. The first 4 people had a low dose of MFEz T cells. As they didn’t have any bad side effects the next group had a higher dose and so on for 4 doses.

Of these 14 people, the trial team were able to look at the results of 13. These 13 people had a scan 6 weeks after treatment. The scans showed that the cancer had

  • Stayed the same in 6 people
  • Continued to grow in 7 people

The most common side effect of having MFEz T cells was breathing problems.

The trial team concluded that the highest dose of MFEz T cells they tested was the best. But it caused a lot of  breathing problems.  

We have based this summary on information from the team who ran the trial. As far as we are aware, the information they sent us has not been reviewed independently (peer reviewed Open a glossary item) or published in a medical journal yet. The figures we quote above were provided by the trial team. We have not analysed the data ourselves.

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 Robert Hawkins

Supported by

Cancer Research UK (Centre for Drug Development)
Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)

Other information

This is Cancer Research UK trial number CRUKD/07/064.

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Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:

Oracle - 948

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

Cara took part in a clinical trial

A picture of Cara

"I am glad that taking part in a trial might help others on their own cancer journey.”

Last reviewed:

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