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The power of engineered T cells – a new treatment option for cancer patients….and more !

The use of T cell receptor-directed T cells to target cancer antigens is an exciting area of cancer research. Realising the full potential of a personalised therapy option, it still presents challenges.

There is a clear need for collaboration between researchers, clinicians and industry leaders to overcome these challenges and advance the field of T-cell receptor-directed therapy opportunity. The potential benefits of this approach are significant, and with continued research and development, there is potential for personalised and effective treatments.

CAR-T cell therapies are a promising new approach to cancer treatment that is gaining increasing attention around the world. In Germany, the introduction of CAR-T cell therapies has been relatively slow, but the country is starting to make up ground. 

For CAR-T cell therapies, the patient’s own T cells are genetically modified to recognise and target cancer cells. For this purpose, a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) is added to the surface of the T cells, allowing them to recognise and bind to specific proteins on the surface of cancer cells. Once the CAR T cells have bound to the cancer cells, they can destroy them.

The first CAR-T cell therapy was approved by the FDA in the United States in 2017, and since then several more CAR-T cell therapies have been approved in the US and Europe. These treatments have shown remarkable results in clinical trials. By the end of 2021, three autologous anti-CD19 CAR-T cell products, Yescarta, Kymriah and Tecartus, received marketing approval based on positive clinical data from phase I/II trials. In the EU, all three products have been subject to an accelerated review (PRIME designation process) to facilitate the development and clinical use of advanced therapy medicinal products that meet an unmet medical need.

CAR-T cell therapies are not yet widely used in Germany, but the country is starting to catch up with other countries in terms of acceptability. Several clinical trials of CAR-T cell therapies are currently in progress in Germany, including trials for the treatment of lymphoma, leukaemia and multiple myeloma.

Challenges to introducing CAR-T cell therapies in Germany include the financial investment required for these treatments. The production and administration of CAR-T cell therapies are still quite cost-intensive, so health insurance companies are still hesitant to cover the costs of these treatments. However, as more data on the efficacy of these therapies becomes available, it is likely that more health insurance providers will cover the costs.

Despite the challenges, the potential benefits of CAR-T cell therapies are significant. CAR-T cell therapies are a highly personalised treatment that is tailored to each individual patient. This treatment offers versatile and personalised ways to treat different types of cancer. The potential for other personalised immunotherapies is also of great interest. For patients who have exhausted all other treatment options, CAR-T cell therapies offer hope.

CAR-T cell therapies are an exciting new development in cancer treatment and more. While the introduction of these therapies in Germany has been slow, the country is starting to make up ground with several clinical trials currently ongoing. As more and more data becomes available on the effectiveness of these treatments, it is likely that CAR-T cell therapies will become an important treatment option.

It remains exciting…

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