The Royal FreIMG_2365.JPGe London (RFL) is one of just three trusts in the country to have been awarded a grant that will be used to help deliver the most advanced type of cancer treatments. 

The RFL is a leading provider of immunotherapy in north central London with patients across the area being referred to the trust for treatment.

The immunotherapy drugs work by teaching the body’s own immune system to recognise and destroy cancer cells.

Patients with cancer are sometimes given immunotherapy alone, while for others it is used alongside chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery.

The £20,000 grant, which is from pharmaceutical company BMS, will be used to develop a strategy for how the service can be delivered in the future. 

Emily Keen, the trust’s immunotherapy lead nurse, applied for and won the grant and she will work with a consultancy firm to draw up the strategy.  

She said: “Because there has been such a huge increase in the number of immunotherapy drugs being prescribed and because demand will continue to grow, we need to understand as a trust how to prepare for this.

“This type of treatment is still relatively new in some settings and we are understanding more about how to manage the side effects, about determining which patients respond well to the treatment and how it can most effectively be used alongside other treatments.

“The strategy will involve looking at what we need to do in terms of our laboratories, our equipment, staff and training so that we can deliver the best care to our patients.” 

Roopinder Gillmore, divisional director for medical specialties, said: “As a trust we are really hoping to expand and develop our immunotherapy service, particularly as the number of patients diagnosed with cancer is set to increase in the coming decades. This strategy will help ensure we can continue to offer patients the very latest and most effective treatments as the demand for this service grows.”

Image: Emily Keen