US regulators approve anti-cancer gene therapy that uses patient's own immune system

US regulators have approved the first gene therapy against cancer, a treatment which uses a patient's own immune cells to fight leukaemia.

The patient's immune cells (T-cells) are removed with a special blood filtration process and genetically encoded in a lab to hunt down cancer cells.

These re-engineered T-cells are then transfused back into the patient, where they can begin attacking leukemia.

The treatment is made by Novartis and is called Kymriah (tisagenlecleucel).

"This marks the first-ever CAR-T cell therapy (anti-cancer immunotherapy) to be approved anywhere in the world," Novartis CEO Joseph Jimenez told reporters on a conference call.

"It uses a new approach that is wholly personalized by using a patient's own T-cells."

83% of patients have responded to the treatment, achieving remission within three months, Novartis said. The therapy is also cheaper than alternative bone marrow transplants.


More in this Section

Nigeria troops arrest 400 Boko Haram fighters and families

German child rescued after locking himself into safe

Theresa May warned not to accept plans that would leave UK a ’colony’ of Brussels

Austria’s conservatives strike coalition deal with far-right Freedom Party


Lifestyle

Review: N.E.R.D - No One Ever Really Dies: Their finest album to date

Everyone's mad at Google - Sundar Pichai has to fix it

Scenes from the analogue city - Memories of Limerick from the late 80s and early 90s

Ask Audrey: 'I heard that Viagra fumes from Pfizer’s were causing stiffys below in Ringaskiddy'

More From The Irish Examiner