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First child given pioneering CAR-T cancer therapy

This article was taken from: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-47058069

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An 11-year-old has become the first NHS patient to receive a therapy that uses the body’s own cells to fight cancer.

Yuvan Thakkar, who has a form of leukaemia, was given the personalised treatment at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH), in London, after conventional cancer treatments failed.

CAR-T involves removing immune cells and modifying them in a laboratory so they can recognise cancer cells.

Previously, it was available only as part of a clinical research trial.

The CAR-T therapy, called Kymriah, costs £282,000 per patient, but the NHS has negotiated a undisclosed lower price with the manufacturer, Novartis.

And the money will come from the Cancer Drugs Fund, set up to fast-track access to the most promising treatments.

Kymriah is licensed to treat patients up to 25 years old with B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL), for whom other treatments have failed.

Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia affects about 600 people a year, mostly children. Most are cured by conventional treatments but about 10% relapse.

In November, it was announced that GOSH, along with Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital and Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, would treat children with this rare form of leukaemia.

Up to 30 patients a year are expected to be treated.