An 11-year-old Yuvan Thakkar has become the first NHS patient to receive a CAR-T therapy. It involves the body’s own cells to fight against cancer.
A Patient – Yuvan Thakkar
Yuvan, from Watford, was diagnosed with Acute lymphoblastic leukemia in 2014. He received chemotherapy and then followed by a bone marrow transplantation. But both conventional cancer treatments failed.
The disease affects about 600 people a year, mostly children. Unfortunately, Yuvan is one of them.
Yuvan’s parents, Sapna and Vinay, said: “When Yuvan was diagnosed, it was the most heartbreaking news we had ever received.
“We tried to stay hopeful, as they say, leukemia in children has 90% cure rate, but sadly his illness relapsed.
“This new therapy is our last hope.”
Yuvan said: “I really hope I get better soon so I can visit Lego House in Denmark.
“I love Lego and am building a big model Bugatti while I’m in a hospital.”
CAR-T therapy, called Kymriah, FDA approved treatment for Acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
It is more like personalized cancer therapy. It involves the removing of immune cells from the patient body. The cells are then modifying in a laboratory so they can recognize cancerous cells.
Funding for the therapy
The CAR-T therapy cost £282,000 per patient. While in case of Yuvan, NHS of England negotiates an undisclosed lower price with Novartis – the manufacturer of the therapy.
In November, it was announced that Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH), along with Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital and Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals, NHS Foundation Trust, would treat children with this form of leukemia.
Every year, up to 30 patients with rare leukemia are expected to be treated with CAR-T therapy.
“We are so pleased to be able to offer patients like Yuvan another chance to be cured” – said Yuvan’s consultant, Dr. Sara Ghorashian.
“While it will be a while before the outcome of this powerful new therapy is known, the treatment has shown very promising results in clinical trials and we are hopeful that it will help.” She added.
However, there were some serious side-effects, with some patients needing intensive care due to a cytokine-release syndrome.
This can cause fever, low blood pressure and difficulty breathing but can be treated in most patients.
Original Source: First child given pioneering CAR-T cancer therapy