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Multiple myeloma, a new immunotherapy has determined the disappearance of the disease in 90% of patients

Cancer research is advancing and continues to produce good news. The latest, in chronological order, comes from Israel, where a group of researchers from the Hadassah-University Medical Center has detected the complete remission of multiple myeloma in over 90% of patients who received a new form of immunotherapy.

In Italy, each year, 5,600 people get multiple myeloma, a cancer of the plasma cells, which multiply out of control in the bone marrow and sometimes in other parts of the body. It is the second hematological malignancy by frequency, with a growing incidence of +126%.

The innovative therapy is already being used in some other forms of cancer, is considered one of the best methodologies in the treatment of aggressive tumours, and involves reprogramming a patient’s immune cells to recognize and attack their own cancer cells.

The ongoing Phase 1 clinical trial has already produced dramatic results, as reported by the newspaper Jerusalem Post: over 90% of the 74 patients treated with the therapy went into complete remission, i.e. there are no longer any signs in their body that the disease is in progress.
Previous results, obtained with a smaller group of 20 patients with advanced multiple myeloma, showed that 85% of them responded to treatment and 71% had a complete remission from the disease. In that study, the treatment also increased patient survival by an average of 308 days, but six patients in particular had no evidence of disease progression when data recording was stopped 1.5 years later. .

How the new one works Chimeric Antigen Receptor Cell Therapy

There Chimeric Antigen Receptor Cell Therapy (CAR-T) is an extremely promising form of immunotherapy against many types of cancer, thanks to its individualized approach. It takes place over a number of weeks and involves genetically modifying a patient’s blood sample, with a receptor that recognizes cancer cells added to their T cells, which are part of the immune system. From there, the newly engineered cells are put back into the patient with the hope that they will help the immune system destroy any tumors, as well as protect against future relapses.

The high cost of customization

The good news is, therefore, pity for a single “defect”: this laboratory work conducted on each individual person is cutting-edge and has a high cost. Currently in the United States, a personalized CAR-T therapy can cost from 500,000 to 1 million dollars, depending on the cancer it is aimed at, making it difficult to both research and market, as reported by the scientific site IflScience. It is also difficult to expand to the mass market, as each cancer must be specifically analyzed and engineered. However, despite the high costs, researchers say there is no shortage of people seeking treatment. “We constantly have a waiting list of more than 200 patients from Israel and various parts of the world,” said Professor Polina Stepansky, of theHadassah-University Medical Centerto the Jerusalem Post. “Due to the complexity of the production and the treatment itself, only one patient per week can enter the treatment, which is still conducted in an experimental phase.”

Source: Vanity Fair

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