On the 12th of July, a panel recommended that the US FDA give approval to a radical, gene-altering therapy for treating leukemia.
In approx. 15% of leukemia cases, the disease doesn't get cured by normal methods or relapses after treatment is over. In tests that have been carried out so far, the new method will cure a lot of those cases. The new method alters the genes inside the healthy cells of the body, to make the healthy cells kill the cancerous ones. The modified cells will have to be created specially for every single person. Basically, the person's white blood cells will be collected, and will be genetically modified to target the protein that is present on the surface of cancerous cells.The modified cells will then be injected back into the patient's body.
The new treatment will probably be very costly in the beginning, but could actually be relatively less expensive than the total costs of spending years in hospitals.Drug giant Novartis will be the first company to offer this treatment, although initially, it will only be deployed on a small scale.