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Taiwan reports first child cured of cancer by CAR T-cell therapy.

Image Credit: CNA

A 10-year-old girl named Tingting (亭亭) suffering from leukemia has been completely cured of the cancer after receiving one injection of the CD19-targeted CAR T-cell therapy, thanks to doctors at the National Taiwan University Hospital (NTUH).

The child was diagnosed with childhood B-cell acute lymphoblastic lymphoma and her condition relapsed with previous treatments. Im the past such patients would need a stem cell transplant to survive. The girl is the first person in Taiwan to receive the CD19-targeted chimeric antigen receptor-engineered (CD19 CAR) T-cell recipient and doctors said that no residual cancer cells have been found in her body.

At a press conference in the University, the haematologist oncologist Chou Hsien-tang (周獻堂) at NTUH said that the patient was diagnosed with cancer when she was six years old. She received a three-year chemotherapy regimen for high-risk groups. The cancer cells were undetectable for a period of time but unfortunately the cancer recurred, and according to the haematologist, the new drugs could not remove the camcer cells completely. This led doctors to talk with her parents regarding a new treatment as she was chosen as a candidate for the CART T-cell therapy.

Image Credit: Cleveland Clinic

The treatment works by targeting an antigen (Antigen is a molecule present on the cancer cells which stimulate an immune response, as antibodies attach to such molecules) called CD-19 which is present on all the cancer cells of the patient with childhood B-cell acute lymphoblastic lymphoma. The treatment involves using patient’s own T cells, genetically modifying them to have receptors known as chimeric antigen receptors (CAR). These modified T-cells are than injected into the patient where they will attach to the CD-19 antigen and subsequently destroys the cancer cells.

Even though the 10-year girl has no detectable cancer cells, she will be monitored for a brief period in case there will be a resurgence of the cancer.

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