Sitting in a sterile room, Mellie Threader watched as 10ml of clear liquid dripped slowly into her husband Graham’s veins.
Within the solution, she knew, were millions of T-cells, too small to see – donated cells genetically modified in a lab so that they could seek out and destroy the cancer cells causing Graham’s leukemia.
It was, she admits later, a very tense 10 minutes.
The infusion of cells was part of a trial – the first in Europe in adult humans – for side-effects to a new therapy called CAR T (or chimeric antigen receptor T cells). Potentially it could even cure her husband’s cancer completely.
But no one at University College London Hospital, where the treatment was taking place, really…