The therapy, which uses manipulated cells, is one of the great hopes for the future of oncological treatment
The UMCG in Groningen has started using new treatment for cancer patients for whom other treatments have been ineffective. The new treatment sees them receive their own blood cells, which have been genetically manipulated to attack cancer cells. It is an expensive form of treatment, but (as reported in the Dagblad van het Noorden), the results are ‘amazing’.
The trial with the new treatment in Groningen started with a few dozen lymph node cancer patients being treated.
When the experimental treatments are complete, with positive results, the treatment will also be given to other patients, suffering from (for example) lung cancer.
In medical terms the treatment sees “T cells” from the patients manipulated in such a way that they change into “CAR T cells”. These CAR T cells are programmed to recognise and attack tumor cells. The first CAR T cells were discovered in 1989 in Israel, however they have since been developed significantly.
According to the article, the results are simply “spectacular”. More than half of the patients are completely disease-free three months after receiving one infusion of blood, and the lymph node cancer cells have disappeared. Without treatment, 93 percent of these treated patients would have died.
Incidentally, the new treatment was not developed in Groningen but in the United States. Groningen is one of the medical centers in the world that has received permission to do more tests there. But in the future the UMCG thinks it can manipulate the cells itself, and much cheaper then when they have to be bought in the US.