China researchers: T cell therapy cured lukemia patient

World Today

CFP file photo.

Chinese researchers say they have cured a patient of leukemia using CAR T-Cell therapy according to an announcement Friday by a hospital in the Southwest Chinese city of Chongqing.

Zhang Fang, a middle-aged woman, is said to have been cured of leukemia after she was treated with what is called CAR-T therapy. The hospital that made the announcement is affiliated with the Chongqing-based Third Military Medical University.

“The cancer cells have disappeared from her body. She is the first patient who has been completely cured of the disease using gene therapy,” said Professor Qian Cheng, who is the director of the Bio-Treatment Center at the hospital.

China has about four million patients that have been diagnosed with leukemia. Most patients are treated using chemo-therapy or bone marrow transplants, but CAR-T treatment is a gene therapy using modified T cells to fight cancer cells in leukemia patients.

CAR-T therapy is a much better option, because it can cut costs by at least 30 percent compared with bone marrow transplants, and is more likely to lead to a cure,” professor Qian said.

Six other patients, who are receiving the gene therapy in the same hospital, have shown improved conditions, according to professor Qian.

CAR-T gene therapy is still in the clinical trial phase in China and has only been administered in fewer than ten hospitals across China.

Qian said his team is encouraged by the success and will further study dosing to improve the new therapy.

Xinhua News Agency