This new form of cancer treatment involves removing several cells of the patient’s immune system so that they can be reengineered in the laboratory. The engineered immune cells are then put back into the patient’s body to attack cancer cells.
“Australia is now one of the main centers in the world, not only for treatment but also for CAR T cell therapy,” said Health Minister Greg Hunt.
This facility, he said, is not only the first in Australia, but also in Asia.
The new CAR T cell therapy treatment was approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration, the health authority in Australia, in December last year. It costs $ 598,000 / patient.
Simon Harrison of the Peter MacCallum Cancer Center explains his agency has now begun to use CAR T cell therapy to treat patients in clinical trials.
According to him, the financing of therapy borne by the government will be decided in the coming weeks.
Minister of Health Hunt said that if funding was approved, patients might not need to pay or it would be very cheap.
“Something that cannot be reached by everyone, is now accessible to everyone,” he said.
“Not only will we help patients in the state of Victoria, but also patients from all over Australia and hopefully patients throughout the world,” said Minister of Health Hunt.
One of the first patients to receive cell therapy was Lauren Krelsham, who suffered from acute lymphoid leukemia.
According to him, this treatment gave new hope after he was put into palliative care about four years ago.
“When there is T CAR cell therapy, I have the opportunity to live again,” he said. “CAR T-cell therapy saved my life.”
Now he is in total healing, even though he continues to be treated with intravenous immunoglobin every month to strengthen his immune system against infection.
Funding for this cancer center has been budgeted by the Australian Government for health research in Victoria.
“This is to ensure that Victoria, especially Melbourne, is a global health research center for cancer and various rare diseases,” said Hunt Minister of Health