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.