The money has been put up by the Zorginstituut Nederland, and the healthcare organisation ZonMw
Translated by Thomas Ansell
As reported by nu.nl, the UMCG in Groningen has received a large amount of money in the form of a research grant to look into a ‘promising’ form of immunotherapy, which could be effective in treating lymphatic cancer.
Each year about 1700 people in the Netherlands suffer from that type of cancer, however it looks as though the treatment being investigated may be useful in treating other types of cancer, too. The therapy is known as ‘CAR T-Cell Therapy’, and aims to train the body’s own immune system to attack cancerous cells. Since last year the therapy has been available under Dutch basic health insurance- though treatment costs about 330,000 euros per patient.
This is because the cells are imported from the United States (which would also explain the eye-watering cost), which can leave some patients waiting 6 weeks for the required CAR T cells.
The UMCG will be working with the Radboudumc (Nijmegen), Erasmum MC (Rotterdam), and the Amsterdam UMC on the research. Each of the hospitals will produce their own CAR T cells, and test their effectiveness.
“The thinking is that this will lead to wins in terms of both quality and time. Because everything takes place in one location, more fresh cells can be utilised. The patient cost could come down to 80,000 euros per patient”, says the Zorginstituut Nederland.
According to hematologist and research leader Tom van Meerten of the UMCH, about 40 percent of Dutch CAR T patients are still cancer-free after 2 years. The research will include 299 patients, and will last 6 years.
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