India Approves Breakthrough CAR-T Cell Therapy for Cancer Treatment

Written by Arushi Sharma

India marks a major milestone in cancer treatment with the approval of NexCAR19, an indigenous CAR-T cell therapy for relapsed/refractory B-cell lymphomas and leukaemia.

India Approves Breakthrough CAR-T Cell Therapy for Cancer Treatment
India develops its own CAR-T cell therapy, NexCAR19, offering a more affordable and accessible treatment option for relapsed/refractory blood cancers compared to international alternatives.

India achieves a significant milestone in cancer treatment as the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) grants market authorization to CAR-T (Chimeric Antigen Receptor-T) cell therapy.

Developed by ImmunoACT, an IIT Bombay incubated company, the indigenous NexCAR19 therapy represents a groundbreaking approach for treating relapsed/refractory (r/r) B-cell lymphomas and leukaemia.

This breakthrough therapy, developed in collaboration with Tata Memorial Centre (TMC), leverages CAR-T Cell Therapy—a form of cancer immunotherapy.

It involves genetically altering immune cells (T cells) in a laboratory, enabling them to effectively locate and destroy cancer cells. Dr. Rahul Purwar, founder and CEO of ImmunoACT, expresses optimism, stating, "The NexCAR19 will be ₹30-40 lakh per patient, which is 1/10th of the cost abroad."

Key highlights of the CAR-T Cell Therapy:

Significant Cost Reduction: NexCAR19 is expected to cost significantly less than its international counterparts, making it a more accessible option for patients in India and resource-limited countries.

Clinical Trial Success: The multicenter Phase I/II pivotal clinical trial involving 60 r/r B-cell lymphoma and leukaemia patients demonstrated remarkable results, with an approximate 70% overall response rate (ORR).

Favorable Balance Between Efficacy and Toxicity: Dr. Hasmukh Jain, overseeing the clinical trial, highlights the therapy's favorable balance, emphasizing its efficacy and manageable toxicity.

Dr. Purwar notes that NexCAR19's approval solidifies India's position among nations with access to CAR-T therapy. As approximately 25,000 B-Cell lymphoma patients are diagnosed annually in India, the therapy is set to be available in around 20 government and private hospitals across major cities.

While CAR-T cell therapy has shown effectiveness in blood cancers and lymphomas, ongoing research explores its potential in treating solid tumors and autoimmune diseases. The therapy represents a second-line treatment for late-stage leukaemia and lymphoma, particularly when conventional treatments prove ineffective.

Comparison of Cancer Chemotherapy Prices in India

In addition to the groundbreaking approval of CAR-T cell therapy, the report highlights a notable aspect—comparing cancer chemotherapy prices in India. This underscores the economic advantage and accessibility offered by indigenous therapies, potentially revolutionizing cancer treatment dynamics in the country.

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