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Response to COVID-19 reduced in patients with blood cancers

Patients with blood cancers vary in their immune response to COVID-19 and can struggle to clear infection for many weeks, according to new research published in Cancer Cell.

By contrast, most patients with solid tumours, even those with advanced cancer, can mount an effective and lasting immune defence.

The team from King’s College London and the Francis Crick Institute analysed the blood of 76 cancer patients – 41 who had COVID-19 and 35 who had not been exposed to the virus. A total of 23 of the people with cancer had solid tumours, and 18 had blood cancers.

When they compared samples with the immune signatures from COVID-19 patients without cancer, they saw that patients with solid tumours had a similar immune response to those without cancer, regardless of cancer stage or if they were undergoing treatment. However, the immune response of patients with blood cancers varied considerably.  

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