While research and testing for new cancer drugs is vital, it also takes time. A new treatment that has shown promise in fighting lymphoma, which will affect 70,000 people each year, has been fast-tracked by the FDA however. CAR-T, which stands for Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) T-Cell Therapy, showed very good results in trials at Moffitt Cancer Center in Florida and MD Anderson Cancer Center in Texas. 101 patients who had advanced lymphoma and who had not seen good results from other treatments were enrolled in a study of CAR-T therapy.
In CAR-T treatments, cancer cells are removed from the body, and reprogrammed at the cellular level. They are then put back into the body, and from there cause the patient's own immune system to fight off cancer. The alteration of these cells make them almost like a heat seeking missile, going right to the lymphoma cells to kill them off. A whopping 39% of patients showed no evidence of cancer one month after a single CAR-T treatment. The FDA is currently reviewing the results and while they were not perfect, a decision is expected by the end of the year.