Aims of cluster

The experimental medicine and therapeutics cluster aims to translate novel human therapeutics from the laboratory into clinical environments and support first-in-man, phase one and phase two studies of cellular, protein/peptide, small molecule therapeutics and imaging agents.

These therapeutics, cut across our eight research themes and integrate shared interests in drug modalities across all of our research clusters.

In addition to our core projects, we capitalise on other experimental medicine projects across King’s Health Partners (KHP) (an Academic Health Science Centre where world-class research, education and clinical practice are brought together for the benefit of patients), which use our core facilities, the Cell and Gene Therapy Unit (GMP) and the Clinical Trial Management Service embeded with this cluster.

Key programmes

Our research programmes cut across our BRCs eight research themes and integrate shared interests in drug modalities across all of our research clusters. The selection of projects listed below demonstrates the breadth of trials in which we are engaged:

  • Cancer Programme on T-Cell, in particular on CAR-T cells
  • Cutaneous medicine programme on Cell Therapy, in particular on Epidermolysis Bullosa
  • Cutaneous medicine programme on antibody discovery
  • Immunity & infection programme on cancer, in particular on gamma-delta
  • Immunity & infection programme on diabetes, in particular on Type 1 diabetes
  • Transplantation programme on cell therapies, in particular on lung and renal transplant.

Celebrating success

The experimental medicine and therapeutics cluster has initiated significant biomedical and translational research studies focused on novel human therapeutics.

Our key successes include

  • Type 1 diabetes first-in-man trial of a novel prototype peptide immunotherapy developed at Kings College London (KCL) for type 1 diabetes. With a next generation drug developed, a first-in-man study is currently under way.
  • Two first in man trials using naturally occurring regulatory T-cells as adoptive therapies to counter allograft rejection in liver and renal transplantation have completed all pre-clinical and GMP preparation work. A parallel regulatory T-cell therapy is also under development for the treatment of Crohns disease.
  • A cell therapy trial for Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB) ran between June 2013 and 2015 where the first patient was dosed in a first-in-man study to evaluate the safety of allogeneic mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) in children with EB. The results showed that treatment with MSCs improves both the appearances of the skin and the overall quality of life for children with EB and further similar studies focused on cell-based regeneration are ongoing.
  • The cluster has also initiated a first in man clinical trial of T-Cell therapy for head and neck cancers.

Collaborations

The cluster has strong relationships with Quintiles, through a collaborative agreement.

The cluster utilises a number of the services on offer across KHP. These include regulatory advice and support from the KHP Clinical Trials Office (CTO) and partner R&D departments at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and King’s College Hospital. In addition, clinical trial statistics, databases and management from King’s Clinical Trials Unit (KCTU), IP and licensing support and commercialisation advice from the King’s Commercialisation Institute are all exploited as necessary.

All of the cluster’s research investigators collaborate with their peers from other academic institutions in the UK and abroad as well as with commercial and non-profit organisations such as charities.

Cluster board

The cluster board is led by Professor Mark Peakman and brings together senior research clinicians from across Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and King’s College London.

The cluster board meets monthly and comprises world class experts who are adept at translating research from the laboratory into clinical environments. It has oversight of the cluster’s portfolio acting as a forum to accurately and effectively support and monitor the activity within the cluster.

Cluster contact

Cluster Manager: Dr Francesca Poloni

Francesca.poloni@gstt.nhs.uk