World News

New Gene-Altering Therapy Cleared by FDA to Help Kids With Leukemia

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Families fighting childhood leukemia need as many glimmers of hope as possible, and thankfully, some good news is on the horizon. According to ABC News, the FDA approved a new medicine on Wednesday, August 30, that could save many lives.

This new medicine is being called “historic” due to being the “first gene therapy to hit the U.S. market.” The therapy is a living drug using the patient’s own genes to make their T-cells fight against cancer. The “CAR-T-cells” treatment is given only one time at a cost of $475,000, but the company who makes the drug, Novartis Pharmaceuticals, says there won’t be a charge for the patients who don’t show any improvements after a month.

The gene therapy is meant for those who aren’t helped by traditional treatments. For one girl, it completely eradicated her cancer for over five years now. The Washington Post explains that the treatment is also being considered and tested for other diseases such as “non-Hodgkin lymphoma and multiple myeloma to solid tumors.”

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb told the news, “We’re entering a new frontier in medical innovation with the ability to reprogram a patient’s own cells to attack a deadly cancer. New technologies such as gene and cell therapies hold out the potential to transform medicine.”