(USA)

This is turning out to be a historic year in the fight against cancer.

Pioneering gene therapies approved by American regulators could spell “the end for blood cancer” according to one industry expert.

By ‘genetically changing the cells of a cancer patient to enable them to combat the disease’ gene therapy heralds a new age in treatment options. Last week Kite, a Gilead Company, received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its Yescarta™ T cell (CAR T) therapy.

“This therapy is a new option for patients with relapsed or refractory large B-cell lymphoma who have run out of treatment options and face a dire prognosis,” explained Louis DeGennaro, PhD, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS). “Early on, LLS recognized the potential of CAR T therapy and we are proud to be part of making this historic approval possible.

It follows on from the FDA’s recent decision to back the Novartis drug, called CTL019, a therapy described as having “blockbuster” potential after one injection transformed the life of Emily Whitehead – now 12 years old – who had been placed in a hospice after all other treatments failed.