This is the future of medicine. Novartis Pharmaceuticals company developed revolutionary new method- the first-ever treatment that genetically alters a patient’s own cells to fight cancer, transforming them into what scientists call “a living drug” that powerfully bolsters the immune system to shut down the disease.
Through a range of different methods, the genes of the patient’s own cells are edited with breath-taking precision using synthetic viruses or CRISPR; these augmented cells are then reintroduced back into their bodies and their immune systems do the rest of the work.
Up until this point, gene therapy like this has remained experimental, meaning that it was only available to people taking part in a clinical trial. As reported by The New York Times, however, this is to no longer be the case: the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has officially given the go-ahead for gene therapy to be put on the market for the very first time.
The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday approved the second in a radically new class of treatments that genetically reboot a patient’s own immune cells to kill cancer.
The new therapy, Yescarta, made by Kite Pharma, was approved for adults with aggressive forms of a blood cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, who have undergone two regimens of chemotherapy that failed.
The treatment, considered a form of gene therapy, transforms the patient’s cells into what researchers call a “living drug” that attacks cancer cells. It is part of the rapidly growing field of immunotherapy, which uses drugs or genetic tinkering to turbocharge the immune system to fight disease. In some cases, the treatments have led to long remissions.
“The results are pretty remarkable,” said Dr. Frederick L. Locke, a specialist in blood cancers at the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, and a leader of a study of the new treatment. “We’re excited. We think there are many patients who may need this therapy.”
He added, “These patients don’t have other options.”
This is something we’ve been waiting for. The potential of this new approach is that the patient’s cells are edited using synthetic viruses or CRISPR. This type of therapy is shown to cure children of seemingly incurable blood cancer.
It’s about time that the FDA approved it. Hopefully, when they do, this treatment will save thousands of children’s lives around the world.
This is why we need science! Real peer-reviewed science by dedicated, ethical researchers. Thank you.