Approval of gene therapies for two blood cancers led to an ‘explosion of interest’ in 2017 | Science News

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Approval of gene therapies for two blood cancers led to an ‘explosion of interest’ in 2017

CAR-T cell therapy treats patients for whom other therapies haven’t worked

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8:27am, December 13, 2017
CAR-T cells

CANCER CRUSH  In CAR-T cell therapy, a cancer treatment approved by the FDA this year for certain blood cancers, a patient’s T cells (teal) are genetically modified to hunt down and kill cancer cells (blue).

This year, gene therapy finally became a clinical reality. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved two personalized treatments that engineer a patient’s own immune system to hunt down and kill cancer cells. The treatments, the first gene therapies ever approved by the FDA, work in people with certain blood cancers, even patients whose cancers haven’t responded to other treatments.

Called CAR-T cell immunotherapy (for chimeric antigen receptor T cell), one is for kids and young adults with B cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia, or ALL, approved in August (SN Online: 8/30/17). The other is for adults with non-Hodgkin lymphoma,

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