FDA may approve goundbreaking cancer treatment that uses body’s immune system to fight disease

A Scientist looks at cells through a fluorescent microscope at the laboratories at Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute

A groundbreaking cancer treatment that uses the body’s own immune system to attack cancerous cells is likely to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

The treatment, called CAR-T cell immunotherapy could be approved as early as the end of September after a unanimous approval from the agency’s Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee.

Timothy Cripe, a panel member who is an oncologist with Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, told NPR the treatment the “most exciting thing I’ve seen in my lifetime.”

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The treatment takes immune system cells – known as T cells – from a patient’s body and freezes them. Scientists then modify the genes in them so that they will only attack cancerous cells, multiply, and refreeze them.

They are then reintroduced into the patient’s body to begin the process of multiplying to the millions and destroying the cancer, leaving behind healthy cells.

Since the patient’s own cells are being used, some scientists call it a “living drug”.

If approved it would be the first gene-based therapy approved by the government agency.

Previous attempts to harness a patient’s own immune system in fighting cancerous cells have not had the success of CAR-T…