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US finally approves the breakthrough Gene Therapy for the treatment of Leukemia

By Herald Keeper
By Olivia Tucker

Welcoming a new era in cancer treatment, the U.S. health officials have officially approved a new breakthrough treatment for the patients suffering from leukemia where it genetically transforms the patient’s own blood cell into an army of assassins which detects and destroys the childhood leukemia.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has called this a historic moment because it is considered to be the first gene therapy hitting the U.S. markets. The new treatment can act as a lifesaver for those patients who did not recover through first line drug treatments.

Novartis Pharmaceuticals has fixed the price of the one-time infusion of the “CAR-T cells” at $475,000 but they have said that they will charge nothing if the patient did not show any response within the first month. Dr. Stephan Grupp of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia said that this breakthrough treatment is a brand new way of curing cancer. 5 years ago, for the first time, he used the CAR-T cell therapy to treat a girl child who was close to death but now she is completely ok.

Actually, the gene therapy techniques of the CAR-T treatment procedure is not meant to fix the disease causing genes rather these make the T cells get turbocharged and hence cancer cannot evade the immune system. CAR-T cell therapy is a completely different type of method to strengthen the immune system as compared to the popular immunotherapy drugs called ‘checkpoint inhibitors’ which treat many types of cancers by enabling the natural T cells to spot tumors more efficiently.

In CAR-T cell treatment the Patients own blood cells or immune cells are filtered out and sent to  lab where they get reprogrammed into a CAR (chimeric antigen receptor) which makes the T cells super active or turbocharge and after that the T cells are again infused into the body so that they could combat with the cancerous cells more efficiently. The FDA has taken necessary steps to check the side effects that are generated due to the CAR-T treatment. Truly today’s approval of the gene therapy by FDA is a milestone in the treatment of leukemia and it is expected that treatment becomes successful on long term basis.


The post US finally approves the breakthrough Gene Therapy for the treatment of Leukemia by Olivia Tucker appeared first on Herald Keeper.

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