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Breakthrough cancer treatment discovered

June 1, 2023
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The Hadassah-University Medical Center in Jerusalem reported that recent research has resulted in creating a ground-breaking treatment of multiple myeloma cancer – the second most common hematological disease, accounting for one-tenth of all blood cancers and 1% of all types of malignancies. More importantly, this innovative treatment has shown a 90+% success rate against a disease that until now has been considered incurable. 

The new approach, using CAR-T therapy, was developed over the last number of years based on experiments carried out in the hospital’s bone marrow transplant and immunotherapy department. According to Professor Polina Stepensky, the head of the department, as a result of the new therapy, it is projected that patients can live for many more years with an excellent quality of life, something invaluable  for patients who until now only had a life expectancy of two years from the date of diagnosis. 

CAR-T, stands for Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-Cell Therapy, and is based on genetic engineering technology which utilizes the patient’s own immune system to attack and destroy the cancer. Of the 74 patients treated in Hadassah, more than 90% went into complete remission, with minimal  and mild side effects. The department has a waiting list of more than 200 people from Israel and around the world waiting for treatment. Because of the complexity involved in producing and administering the treatment, only one patient per week can start the program, which is still being administered as an experimental therapy.

The CAR-T cell treatment itself was developed  and produced by Hadassah in collaboration with Bar-Ilan University and represents a major technological breakthrough which will facilitate diagnosis of many malignancies.

Until now, current treatment modalities have only been available in China and the United States with an extremely limited availability, costing almost $400,000 per patient treatment. Hadassah’s breakthrough reduces the price dramatically and makes the treatment affordable and accessible. In addition the new treatment is more sophisticated and advanced than all current ones and as Israel’s only hospital developing, manufacturing and delivering CAR-T therapy, they are leading the field that can potentially expand to include identification and treatment of other forms of cancer. 

The treatment is scheduled to be rolled out in the United States in the coming months as a clinical trial and a US company has acquired a patent license on the treatment, with the goal to achieve commercialization and FDA approval as a drug within a year.

Source: Jerusalem Post.