Cancer treatment and research are about to change completely now that a new cancer therapy has been approved by the FDA. The agency itself is referring to this as a ‘historic action.’
This treatment is called KYMIRAH (CAR-T therapy)and has been known as CTL019 in the past. It works by using a patient’s own T cells to fight cancer itself. These cells are taken from the patient and modified to carry a new gene this is something coded for a specific protein known as chimeric antigen receptor or CAR (which explains the name). These modified cells are then placed back into the body of the patient and from there they work to kill off cancer.
Novartis has been working on this treatment for quite some time and now that it has been approved it can now be used to combat acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). This approval covers treatment for those who are up to 25 years old that do not respond to the normal treatment methods. This gene therapy has proven to be effective in clinical trials as surprising as it may sound.
Novartis is reportedly charging around $475,000 for a one-time treatment. According to the National Cancer Institute, there are over 3,000 new cases of ALL each year here in the United States for patients who are 20 years old or younger. Director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER) said in a statement that not only did this treatment provide patients with a new option but an option that has shown promising remission and survival rates in clinical trials.
“We’re entering a new frontier in medical innovation with the ability to reprogram a patient’s own cells to attack a deadly cancer.”
“New technologies such as gene and cell therapies hold out the potential to transform medicine and create an inflection point in our ability to treat and even cure many intractable illnesses. At the FDA, we’re committed to helping expedite the development and review of groundbreaking treatments that have the potential to be life-saving.”
In the beginning phases of this treatment it will only be available at a limited number of hospitals and clinics but in time this number will rise. Doctors and health workers at these facilities have been trained in how to administer treatment and the FDA is now cautioning people against a possible overreaction to by the immune system. This being the main potential risk in regards to this treatment.
For more information on this new treatment check out the video below. What do you think about all of this? I for one am skeptical and blown away.