Revolution in the Battle Against Cancer: Israeli Hospital Hails Breakthrough in CAR-T Therapy

In an inspiring show of scientific breakthrough and hope, Hadassah University Medical Center in Jerusalem reports nearly 90 percent positive response rates among 74 multiple myeloma cancer patients undergoing experimental CAR-T cell therapy. Under the proficient direction of Prof. Polina Stepensky, who heads the Bone Marrow Transplantation Department, this innovative treatment has delivered profoundly encouraging results.

In the trailblazing trial, over half of the participants experienced complete remission, while adverse side effects remained remarkably minimal and mild. Prof. Stepensky commented, “These are dramatic results and represent enormous hope for patients with a disease that, to date, was incurable.”

Multiple myeloma ranks as the second most prevalent hematological disease, contributing to 1 percent of all cancers and 10 percent of blood cancers. In the face of these statistics, the new therapy has provided a beacon of hope.

Developed through a cooperative venture between Hadassah and Prof. Cyrille Cohen, who leads the Immunology and Immunotherapy Laboratory at Bar-Ilan University, the therapy utilizes advanced genetic engineering technology. The American company IMMX Bio has secured a patent license for the technology, and a clinical trial in the US is forthcoming. Prof. Stepensky expressed optimistic expectations for FDA approval within a year.

Currently, over 200 patients from Israel and across the globe are eagerly awaiting their opportunity to join the trials. However, due to the complex nature of the production process and treatment itself, only one patient per week can commence the trial.

The treatment procedure begins by isolating tumor-fighting T cells from the patient’s immune system. These cells are then enhanced with a lab-designed virus and a genetic segment encoding a receptor against the cancer cells. The re-engineered cells are then re-introduced into the patient’s system to actively combat the tumors.

The pioneering concept of employing immune cells to counteract cancer cells originated decades ago in Israel, under the work of Prof. Zelig Eshhar at the Weizmann Institute of Science.

CAR-T therapy, while immensely promising, is currently restricted due to availability and prohibitive costs exceeding $400,000 per treatment. Prof. Stepensky assures that the new method is not only “much more sophisticated and advanced” but also substantially more accessible and affordable.

To conclude, this incredible development is a testament to Israel’s unwavering commitment to advancing medical research, innovation, and improving the quality of human life. The resilience, determination, and pursuit of excellence by Israeli researchers continue to push the boundaries of what is achievable, truly embodying the spirit of the State of Israel and its people. This relentless pursuit of innovation is what makes Israel a beacon of progress, hope, and healing in the global landscape.