New survey to evaluate antibody response in individuals with cancer

The National COVID Cancer Survey is evaluating antibody tests in individuals with cancer.  This is Phase 1 of a large nationwide NHS England project. It will evaluate finger prick COVID antibody testing in 10,000 individuals with cancer.

Who is currently eligible to enter this trial?

If you live in England, have been diagnosed with cancer in the last year, or are on anti-cancer treatment, you can enrol directly to participate.

For MDS, patients on ‘anti-cancer’ treatments means people who are on either:

  • azacytidine/Vidaza injections
  • lenalidomide/Revlimid (for Del 5q type of MDS)
  • other form of chemotherapy

Also eligible are MDS patients who are post Stem cell transplant.

Who is currently NOT eligible to take part?

Patients on :

  • Watch & Wait
  • Transfusions (red blood cells or platelets)
  • EPO/erythropoietin injections (to boost red blood cell production)
  • GCSF injections (to boost white blood cell production)

We have raised the issue with NHS England, that many MDS patients are of course immune-compromised, regardless of risk-group and/or type of treatment received.

Many patients on transfusions, EPO, GCSF specifically will have lower, or even extremely low white blood cell counts and neutrophils, putting them at great risk of any infections.

These comments have been noted by NHS England now, who will review the eligibility criteria if this first phase of the project proves useful and effective.

We have been assured of ongoing discussions.

Reminder: Antibodies alone may not provide all the information required to assess vaccine efficacy

T-cell response levels may provide a more detailed and definite indication whether Covid-19 vaccines are working in blood cancer and MDS patients.

Therefore, it will be essential to review the situation, once the SOAP study results are available, which will include T-cell responses to the vaccines. We are still waiting for an announcement of these results (23/09/21 status).

Question on employment status in the survey

In addition, please note this project is open to patients regardless of employment status.

If you do come across a question regarding employment status, asking you NOT to continue if you are not working, please ignore it and click ‘Continue’.

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