Evaluating expanded tumour infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) in children’s solid cancers

Our objective

The Olivia Hodson Cancer Fund’s objective is to provide, “Support for research and clinical advancements within the departments of Oncology, Haematology and Bone Marrow Transplant at Great Ormond Street Hospital”.

Evaluating expanded tumour infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) in children’s solid cancers

A pilot study by the Institute for Child Health aims to understand how a treatment that has generated a response in some adult cancer patients might also have a role in paediatric oncology.

Cancer specialists recognise that most solid cancers in adults and children contain a form of white blood cell called tumour infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs). In most cancers the purpose of TILs is unknown, but in the US and Europe scientists have developed a treatment for adult metastatic melanoma whereby TILs are expanded in the laboratory to form large numbers of cells which are then injected back into patients. With response rates of over 50% reported by the US National Cancer Institute, this treatment represents an unprecedented success; what’s more, in a minority of cases the transferred TILs have persisted long term and led to durable clinical remissions.

To date, the use of expanded TILs in paediatric oncology has not been successfully evaluated. This OHCF funded pilot study will investigate 20 childhood solid cancers in patients at Great Ormond Street Hospital over a 6-9 month period, with the aim of obtaining an indication of the likely success rate. A success rate greater than 30% or the identification of a tumour type with consistent successful expansions will make applying for further grant funding for ongoing research possible.