Lupus and a Cure: Making headway with a cancer treatment!!
Super exciting news in the world of lupus research, according to this article from Insider.com! The article's title says it all - "Six Lupus Patients Cured by Cancer Treatment". Now let's see how we can translate that to accessible and affordable treatment for all!
Here's a link to the article, and a few snippets, including the unique approach to the treatment as well as the obstacles that make it difficult to replicate en masse:
Doctors in Germany have found a way to effectively cure the most common form of lupus using a novel and pricey bloodhound technique called CAR-T, which is typically reserved for treating cancer.
CAR-T immunotherapy is usually reserved for treating aggressive cancers like lymphomas, and can cost around $450,000, according to the National Cancer Institute. Part of the reason the treatment is so expensive is because it is highly bespoke, specific to each patient and their disease.
First, blood is extracted from the patient, then it is taken to a lab to have the immune-boosting T cells inside re-engineered with special proteins called chimeric antigen receptors (CARs). Finally, those protein-infused T cells are re-injected into the patient, where they work to kill a target disease (for lupus, the T cells were engineered to fight back against CD19.) Essentially, in CAR-T, a patient's blood is trained to fight disease.
Clearly, CAR-T for lupus isn't without drawbacks. It's both pricey and labor-intensive to produce, meaning this strategy will likely never be a viable treatment option for all 200,000 Americans living with the disease.
Be sure to check out the entire article for the full story!