Photo:Yescarta costs $373,000 per use. The gene therapy trains a patient's immune system to destroy tumors.
Cancer Care: A Cure at a Cost
Re-engineering T-cells to fight tumors proves successful at fighting cancer.
Last fall, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Yescarta, a new type of cancer treatment that trains a patient’s immune system to seek and destroy lymphoma tumors.
In patients with lymphoma, the body’s disease-fighting T-cells don’t latch onto substances in the lymphoma cells — “antigens” — that typically stimulate the body’s defenses.
Yescarta is a gene therapy: The patient’s T-cells are removed from the blood, sent to a lab in California and then re-engineered with a “chimeric antigen receptor” (CAR). After being infused back into the patient, the T-cells — now CAR-Ts — are able to attach themselves to an antigen in the lymphoma and destroy the cancer.ALSO IN THIS ARTICLE: Dr. Frederick Locke; Moffitt Cancer Center
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