(USA)

A revolutionary cancer therapy has been approved by regulators in America.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given its backing for the drug developed by Novartis, called CTL019, a therapy which ‘genetically changes the cells of a cancer patient to enable them to combat the disease’. Novartis worked with University of Pennsylvania and Oxford BioMedica on the treatment, which targets a specific type of leukaemia: B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).

We reported last month it had been given preliminary and unanimous support by an FDA committee. It was expected, especially after it had transformed the life of Emily Whitehead during trials. Doctors had given up hope on Emily and she was consigned to a hospice. One injection of CTL019, though, and she is now a healthy 12-year-old enjoying her life.

Bruno Strigini, CEO of Novartis Oncology, has hailed the decision as an “historic moment in cancer treatment.”

While John Dawson, Chief Executive Officer of Oxford BioMedica, said: “We are delighted that the FDA has now approved CTL019. This innovative immunocellular therapy will offer critically ill patients with an aggressive disease a new treatment option.”