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Putting the CAR-T before Cancer

The Faculty of Medicine is to start clinical trials of a cellular therapy that prolongs overall survival of patients with haematological malignancies. An immunotherapy that harnesses the power of the patient’s own immune system and hence avoids complications in conventional treatments like chemotherapy and haematopoietic stem cell transplant, the Chimeric antigen receptor-T cell (CAR-T cell) therapy extracts T cells, which fight infections and kill cancer cells, from the patient’s blood. By modifying these cells genetically in a qualified laboratory and building in radar-like receptors on them, the T-cells can then recognize and attack cancer cells, including those that used to evade the immune system, upon being reinfused into the patient’s body. Tying in with the trials, a CART-cell laboratory licensed with Good Manufacturing Practice, the city’s first, is expected to be built by 2020.

This article was originally published in No. 542, Newsletter in Sep 2019.