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Business News/ Industry / Apollo hospitals to offer indigenous lymphoma and blood cancer treatment
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Apollo hospitals to offer indigenous lymphoma and blood cancer treatment

Last year in June, Apollo Hospitals partnered with biotech startup Cellogen Therapeutics to conduct human trials

Apollo Cancer Centre (ACC) said the hospital chain has successfully completed its CAR-T cell programme, claiming to be the first Indian private hospital to do so. (Mint)Premium
Apollo Cancer Centre (ACC) said the hospital chain has successfully completed its CAR-T cell programme, claiming to be the first Indian private hospital to do so. (Mint)

New Delhi: Indigenous Chimeric Antigen Receptor-T or CAR-T cell therapy, the last resort for treating lukemia and cancer of the lymophoma, has been introduced in India by Apollo Hospital, it said on Thursday. The treatment is used for those patients on whom bone marrow transplant has not worked.

Apollo Cancer Centre (ACC) said the hospital chain has successfully completed its CAR-T cell programme, claiming to be the first Indian private hospital to do so. It will be providing patients with the indigenous CAR-T cell therapy beginning with NexCAR19 (Actalycabtagene autoleucell), for the treatment of B-cell lymphomas and B-acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in patients aged 15 years and above.

So far, the hospital chain has successfully treated 16 patients with the therapy. One more patient is to undergo the treatment at the end of this month. This facility is being made available across 16 Apollo Hospital centres.

CAR-T cells use the body's own immune system to fight cancer. They are made by taking a patient's T cells (a type of white blood cells whose function is to fight cancer cells) and engineering them to recognize and attack cancer cells.

These T-cells are genetically modified in laboratories so that they express modified connectors on their surface called Chimeric Antigen Receptors (CARs). These CARs are specifically designed to recognize cancer cells. They are then multiplied to a desired dose and injected directly into the patient.

The Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) had last year given approval to IIT-B- and Laurus Labs-backed Immunoadoptive Cell Therapy Pvt Ltd for India's first CAR-T cell therapy for the treatment of r/r B-cell lymphomas and leukemia. For the treatment of the initial set of patients, Apollo Hospitals had partnered with the ImmunoACT.

Last year in June, Apollo Hospitals partnered with biotech startup Cellogen Therapeutics to conduct human trials. The trial is scheduled to begin in the second half of this year and will be based on third generation CAR-T cell therapy.

The cost of such treatment at Apollo Hospitals would range from 70 lakh to 90 lakh. However, this has not yet been finalized. The hospital is planning to have talks with medical insurance companies to include CAR-T therapy in their packages, in addition to the many other cancer treatments already covered by them.

"Once the technology further improves, more labs come into the market, the cost of treatment is expected to go down. Currently, this might not be feasible for everyone yet, but the treatment cost has come down considerably from crores when it was being imported. The indigenously built CAR-T treatment, NexCAR19, reflects that Apollo is committed to accessible and effective solutions," said P Shivakumar, CEO, ACC Delhi.

The success rate of CAR-T cell therapy is nearly 90%, with patients living on for 18 months to two years before any relapse.

However, if the cancer cell is widespread then treatment can become difficult.

On Wednesday, Mumbai-based Tata Memorial Hospital announced that it has successfully treated a 64-year-old patient, the first to get the same indigenous therapy developed by ImmunoACT. PGI Chandigarh is also conducting clinical trials with the same therapy.

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Published: 08 Feb 2024, 08:45 PM IST
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