The first treatment to redesign a patient’s own immune system so it attacks cancer has been approved by US.
Calling the approval a “historic” moment, the regulator-the US Food and Drug Administration said that the medicine was now “entering a new frontier”.
The company Novartis is charging $475,000 (£367,000) for the therapy, which leaves 83% of people free of a type of blood cancer.
The “living drug” is tailor-made to each patient, unlike conventional therapies such as surgery or chemotherapy.It is called CAR-T and is made by extracting white blood cells from the patient’s blood.The cells are then genetically reprogrammed to seek out and kill cancer.The cancer-killers are then put back inside the patient and once they find their target they multiply.
Out of 63 patients treated with CAR-T therapy, 83% were in complete remission within three months and long-term data is still being collected.