An experimental cancer treatment has a 90 percent success rate in patients with multiple myeloma, one of the most common blood cancers in the world.
A therapy known as Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-Cell Therapy, or CAR-T, is employed by researchers at Hadassah University Medical Center in Jerusalem, Israel, to encourage the patient’s own immune system to eliminate cancer cells.
Ninety percent of the 74 individuals with multiple myeloma who got the medication entered into remission, meaning they no longer displayed any indications of malignancy.
Using genetically engineered cells, researchers at Hadassah University Medical Center in Jerusalem have developed a treatment to destroy malignant cells in patients with the blood cancer multiple myeloma
These are dramatic results. This is a huge hope for patients with a disease that has not yet been cured,” said Dr. Polina Stepensky, head of the university’s bone marrow transplant and immunotherapy department. The Jerusalem Post.
Treatment is based on genetic engineering, the process of altering DNA makeup using lab-based technology.
The goal is to isolate T cells, which are immune cells that develop from stem cells found in the bone marrow.
This is done through apheresis, a process of taking donated blood components and separating white and red blood cells.
Red blood cells carry oxygen from the lungs to all parts of the body, while white blood cells help fight infection.
Then engineered cells are injected into the patient. These target tumors and help destroy the cancer.
Unlike other forms of immunotherapy, CAR-T changes cells in a lab so they can make the protein CAR, which binds to cancer cells to eliminate them.
Other therapies create large numbers of lymphocytes, immune cells made in the bone marrow, that travel in or around the tumor area.
“We have evidence of a very positive overall response rate with minimal side effects, and they are mild,” said Dr Stepensky.
CAR-T is intended for patients who have had no success with more common treatments, including steroids, chemotherapy, and stem cell transplants. These treatments can have serious side effects. For example, stem cell transplants can lower your overall blood count, which can lead to infections and bleeding.
This treatment is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of multiple myeloma, as well as some forms of leukemia and lymphoma.
However, it costs from everywhere $500,000 to $1 millionmaking it inaccessible to many Americans.
Multiple myeloma is a blood cancer that affects plasma cells. Cancer cells accumulate in the bone marrow, the spongy tissue in the center of bones. These cells infiltrate normal cells that work to fight infection.
Malignant cells produce the antibody M protein, which has no benefit and causes tumors, kidney damage, bone destruction and decreased immune function, according to the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation.
In the early stages, multiple myeloma may not lead to symptoms, but once they do manifest, they include bone pain, nausea, constipation, loss of appetite, mental blurriness, fatigue, infections, weight loss, weakness or numbness in the legs, and excessive thirst .
The disease is most common in people over the age of 60. In addition, men and black people are more likely to develop the condition.
The American Cancer Society estimates that about 35,000 new cases will be diagnosed by 2023, along with about 12,590 deaths.
In the United Kingdom, there are an average of nearly 6,000 new cases per year, according to the report Cancer Research UK. The nation sees about 3,000 deaths from the disease each year.
If caught early, eight out of ten patients survive more than five years.
After it disperses, more than half survive.
Experimental blood cancer therapy already available in US has 90 PERCENT success rate in new trial