"I think it will be important in the commercial phase to assess both failure rates and turnaround times for CAR-T production", said Krishna Komanduri, director of the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center Adult Stem Cell Transplant Program at the University of Miami, who has treated patients with other experimental CAR-Ts, but not the one from Novartis.
Novartis said in its statement Thursday that it plans additional filings for CTL019 in the United States and the European Union later this year, including applications with the FDA and European Medicines Agency for the treatment of adults.
Other biotech and pharmaceutical companies are developing gene therapies, with some treatments approved internationally, AP reported. Speaking during the public hearing, Megan Polanin, a senior fellow at the National Center for Health Research who specializes in evidence-based mental health interventions, urged the FDA to take it slow in approving the auto T therapy.
A new cancer treatment endorsed Wednesday by the Federal Drug Administration's Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee is being described by one panel member as "the most exciting thing I've seen in my lifetime".
Novertis's CAR-T would be used in patients age 25 and under whose cancer comes back after chemotherapy - about 600 people a year in the US Acute lymphoblastic leukemia is the most common cancer in children. The technique employs a disabled form of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, to carry new genetic material into the T-cells to reprogram them. The cells would be frozen and sent to Novartis's facility, where they would be engineered to hunt for a protein marker called CD19 found in some blood cancers. The FDA doesn't have to follow the advice of the advisory committee, but it often does.
It would also advance a technique scientists have been attempting to ideal for decades and help lift the entire field of cell therapy.
A rendering of a T-cell that can be reprogrammed to attack cancer cells.
The treatment from Novartis would be the first of its kind and is targeted to children who are out of options. Most patients suffered serious side effects but almost all recovered.
The one-time treatment involves tweaking a patient's immune cells to attack cancer. Findings from the ELIANA study also showed that patients had a relapse probability of 75% at 6 months, which dropped to 64% at 12 months.
A grateful family giving back with their 12-year-old daughter-the history maker-who 5 years later remains cancer free. Those treatments can cost as much as $10,000 a dose, and may be needed for life.
During the patient testing, the whole process took about 16 weeks on average, which can be too long a wait for some desperately ill patients, the FDA advisers noted during the meeting in Silver Spring, Maryland.
CAR-T offers a new treatment approach in that it is specifically manufactured for each individual patient. "Scientists believed in the promise of gene therapy, but after the death of a patient in a clinical trial in 1999, organizations were reluctant to fund this type of work". Standard treatments can cure most children, but approximately 15 percent of patients, like Emily, do not respond to treatment or experience relapses.
A treatment for head and neck cancer in China was approved in 2004.