In China, a patient whose life was close to its end was completely cured of leukemia by stimulating the immune system using CAR T-cell therapy. In the first study of its type, all cancer cells quickly disappeared. Immune-mediated treatment, pioneered in this country by ACGT scientists Dr. Carl June, University of Pennsylvania, and Dr. Michel Sadelain, Memorial-Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, among others, is rapidly proving more and more successful with thousands of patients in human trials.
A middle-aged woman is said to have been cured of leukemia after she was treated with CAR T-cell therapy. “The cancer cells have disappeared from her body. She is the first patient who has been completely cured of the disease using gene therapy,” said Professor Qian Cheng, director of the Bio-Treatment Center at the hospital in the city of Chongqing.
China has about four million patients that have been diagnosed with leukemia. Most patients are treated using chemo-therapy or bone marrow transplants, but CAR-T treatment is a gene therapy using modified T cells to fight cancer cells in leukemia patients. “CAR-T therapy is a much better option, because it can cut costs by at least 30 percent compared with bone marrow transplants, and is more likely to lead to a cure,” Professor Qian said
Six other patients, who are receiving the gene therapy in the same hospital, have shown improved conditions, according to Professor Qian. CAR-T gene therapy is still in the clinical trial phase in China and has only been administered in fewer than ten hospitals across China. Qian said his team is encouraged by the success and will further study dosing to improve the new therapy. .