Medical Video: New CAR T-cell therapy gives patient hope and more | UCLA Health
At present, rapid research related to cancer and genetic engineering is being developed. Various new drugs to cure cancer are still being tested. Well, one of the new drugs that was discovered and approved recently by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is Chimeric Antigen Receptor-T therapy cells or abbreviated as Car-T. With this, can the Car-T drug be a hope of full recovery for cancer patients?
Cancer itself is one of the deadliest diseases in the world. According to the World Health Organization or WHO, in 2015 cancer contributed to the world mortality rate of 8.8 million. One type of cancer that is deadly to date is leukemia, better known as blood cancer.
Overview of leukemia
Leukemia is a type of cancer cell that increases the number of white blood cells (leukocytes) from normal values. That way, leukocytes will urge other cells such as red blood cells and platelets in the bloodstream.
It should also be noted that even though the amount is large, the function of leukocytes is abnormal, so that it can affect large organs and the ability of leukocytes to fight disease also decreases.
The cause of leukemia is currently unknown and this disease cannot be prevented. That is, preventive measures such as leading a healthy life might help delay the appearance of symptoms while increasing the chances of successful treatment. However, anyone remains at risk of getting cancer.
Well, there are several risk factors that are suspected of triggering leukemia such as:
- Smoking habit
- HTLV-1 virus and HIV
What is Car-T and how does it work?
Chemotherapy, radiotherapy, immunotherapy, and surgery are some of the common treatments used to cure cancer. While Car-T is part of immunotherapy.
The work of Car-T is slightly different from the usual treatment. Patient's T cells (one of the immune components in the body) are taken, then the cells are modified for some time in the laboratory to be able to recognize and attack cancer cells. After that, T cells are again injected into the body. This process is called adoptive cell transfer (ACT).
From there, this cell is expected to stop development, kill, and prevent the spread of cancer cells in the body.
Is Car-T treatment effective for curing cancer?
One case of the success of Car-T occurred in 2012. A child named Emily underwent this immune therapy and was declared cured of cancer. A Car-T clinical trial was also conducted with 88 patients who failed to cure cancer with standard treatment. The result, as many as 83% experienced remission (free of cancer).
However, of course clinical trials and further research with greater coverage of participants still have to be done. The goal is to ensure the safety and agility of Car-T immunotherapy to cure cancer.
The most frequent side effects of this treatment are cytokine release syndrome, a condition in which the immune system attacks vital organs. Symptoms that can appear include fever and flu-like symptoms. In certain cases, patients can also experience temporary delirium (daze) and brain swelling.
Until now, there has been no official information regarding the use of Car-T in Indonesia. Abroad, this drug is still being developed through various trials even though it has obtained permission from the FDA. In the future, Car-T is also prepared not only to cure leukemia, but also deadly cancers like lung cancer, breast cancerand also malignant tumors.