homehealthcare NewsKiran Mazumdar Shaw of Biocon and oncologist Siddhartha Mukherjee bring CAR T cell therapy to cancer patients in India; Find all the details here

Kiran Mazumdar Shaw of Biocon and oncologist Siddhartha Mukherjee bring CAR T-cell therapy to cancer patients in India; Find all the details here

Kiran Mazumdar Shaw of Biocon and oncologist Siddhartha Mukherjee bring CAR T-cell therapy to cancer patients in India; Find all the details here
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By CNBC-TV18 Sept 17, 2019 6:45:44 AM IST (Updated)

Cell therapies are therapies in which your own body cells are used as drugs to fight cancer. In CAR T-cell therapy, immunological cell is derived from the patient’s body and is engineered, weaponised to go and kill cancer cells in the body.

Biocon chairperson Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Indian-American oncologist and author Dr Siddhartha Mukherjee and Kush Parmar, managing partner at 5AM Ventures, are bringing the innovative Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy to cancer patients in India.

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Currently, CAR T-cell treatment isn’t available in India. “There is no fundamental reason that Indian engineers and Indian scientists and of course ultimately Indian patients cannot get access to these therapies,” Mukherjee said in an interview to CNBC-TV18.
Cell therapies are therapies in which your own body cells are used as drugs to fight cancer. In CAR T-cell therapy, immunological cell is derived from the patient’s body and is engineered, weaponised to go and kill cancer cells in the body.
“This therapy has been in development in many countries for several years but was finally launched as an FDA-approved drug a couple of years ago against certain cancer zones. Different ones work for different cancers but it was not available in India at all. So we, Kiran, I and Kush Parmar partnered up and our goal is to deliver the first in human cellular therapy in India for cancer,” he said.
Regulatory hurdles
Mukherjee said a completely new regulatory framework is needed for these therapies in India. He said, “We have the broad framework but it has to be made specific for the use for cellular therapies. India has a very powerful regulatory framework for the use of drugs but for living drugs - there are some special things that need to be addressed, safety needs to be addressed, you can get contamination.”
Accessibility
The two CAR T-cell drugs that are approve by the US FDA -- Yescarta and Kymriah – are sold for around $4,00,000 (Rs 2.8 crore) per person. On the cost of this drug in India, Mukherjee said, “I think that the real trick and the real advantage is we will be taking advantage of the ingenuity of Indian engineers and Indian bio-engineers,” adding, “We are pretty convinced, we have done very detailed analysis of this, this is my fourth visit and we are confident that we can reduce that $400,000 price tenfold.”
He said, “We will almost certainly have programmes for the most needy and the most desperate that will allow them to afford it. These (drugs) are intrinsically very difficult to make.”
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