A New Leukaemia Treatment Will Genetically Change Your Cells

Novartis, a Switzerland-based healthcare company, has unveiled what promises to be a ground-breaking new drug for some leukaemia patients. The standard cancer treatments include radiation, chemotherapy and surgery, but some new options have entered the market in recent years. Some drugs target specific molecular changes, like Imatinib Mesylate, while others, like Novartis’ drug, target the immune system.

Called “a living drug,” Novartis’ Kymriah uses CAR T-cell therapy to genetically alter a patient’s own immune cells so they can destroy tumor cells just like viruses. After the success of smaller trials, Novartis funded a larger trial, and the majority of patients treated with CAR T-cell therapy went into remission. Based on these results, Food and Drug Administration approved the drug tisagenlecleucel (Kymriah) in August for childhood acute lymphocytic leukaemia (ALL). How does CAR T-cell therapy work? T cells, or T lymphocytes, are types of white blood cells located in the immune system. The many different kinds of T cells can Read more