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Cancerkilling treatment approved in Australia

CANBERRA, A revolutionary cancer drug that supercharges immune cells to hunt and kill cancer cells has been approved forhuman use in Australia.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) on Wednesday announced that

CART therapy has been approved for use in pediatric and young adult patients

with Bcell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and adults with

diffuse large B cell lymphoma (DLBCL).

CART therapy trains immune cells to fight and kill cancer cells by first

extracting them from a patient's body to genetically reengineer them before

infusing them back into the body.

Prior to the TGA approving the treatment, patients with aggressive blood

cancers who had exhausted all other treatments had been traveling overseas to

be treated.

Daniel Clarke, 45, traveled with his family to the United States so he

could receive CART treatment for his DLBCL. Within one month his cancer had

vanished.

I felt like someone had just handed my life back to me, he told Fairfax

Media on Wednesday.

It has all happened so quickly. Late September we (went to Boston) not

knowing what to expect, hoping for the best, fearing the worst. Then come

November I was in complete remission.

Global pharmaceutical giant Novartis owns the therapy and has already

increased production to keep up with global demand.

We are focused on ramping up capacity at our U.S. and Switzerland

facilities and we recently announced a collaboration agreement for additional

manufacturing capacity with Fraunhofer (Germany) and CellforCure (France),

spokesperson Lauren Carey said.

These additional manufacturing facilities are intended to support

production on a global scale.

However, CART therapy is not classified as a drug, so it cannot be

subsidized by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

Patients who undergo the treatment in Australia face an outofpocket cost

of up to 598,000 Australian dollars.

Greg Hunt, Australia's Minister for Health, has flagged his intention to

have the treatment subsidized as soon as possible.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)