New gene therapy for cancer is ‘game-changing’

(NBC News) The Food and Drug Administration is considering a new gene therapy for cancer patients.

The CART-T therapy developed by Novartis involves extracting special immune system cells from the patient, then reprogramming them. The new cells are then infused back into the body, trained to find and destroy the cancer.

“Leukemia has very good treatments for most patients, but for the patients it doesn’t work, this is really game-changing,” says Dr. Stephan Grupp from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

The therapy from Novartis would not be used broadly. It’s risky and can come with severe side effects.

Other Car-T therapies are on the horizon as well, including a promising one from Kite Pharma.

In clinical trials it’s been shown to shrink tumors in 80 percent of patients with aggressive non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and sent a third of patients into complete remission.

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