Lifesaving cancer therapy may itself CAUSE cancer, FDA warns trends now

Lifesaving cancer therapy may itself CAUSE cancer, FDA warns trends now
Lifesaving cancer therapy may itself CAUSE cancer, FDA warns trends now

Lifesaving cancer therapy may itself CAUSE cancer, FDA warns trends now

The FDA received reports of new cancers in patients receiving CAR-T therapy It said overall benefits from these products, however, outweigh potential risks READ MORE:  New drugs that shrink colorectal cancer could help halt epidemic

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A lifesaving cancer therapy may actually be causing new diseases in patients receiving the treatment. 

The Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday said it was investigating reports of 19 cases of new cancer linked to CAR-T therapies, which are given to terminal blood cancer patients.

The treatment sees immune cells taken from the body and engineered to attack tumors before being infused back into the patient's blood.

Experts say the breakthrough treatment has saved the lives of thousands of patients  since it was approved in 2017.

But the way it is delivered may disrupt cell DNA and lead to other cancers, which is a small risk with all so-called gene therapies.

An illustration of a T cell, blue, attacking a cancer cell, red

An illustration of a T cell, blue, attacking a cancer cell, red

CAR-T therapies, or chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapies, was first approved in November 2017 and is reserved for cancer patients who would otherwise die without it

CAR-T therapies, or chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapies, was first approved in November 2017 and is reserved for cancer patients who would otherwise die without it 

The FDA says the tiny number of cases  - which have not been proven to have been caused by CAR-T - against the number of lives the treatment has saved means the benefit still massively outweighs the risk. 

It is not unheard of for cancer treatments to, paradoxically, carry a small risk of starting new cancers, with radiation and chemotherapy both known to do so. 

CAR-T therapies, or chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapies, was first approved in November 2017 and is reserved for cancer patients who would otherwise die without it. 

The treatment involves removing a type of white blood cell - T cells, which help the body fight diseases - from a patient's blood and genetically engineering them to make CARs.

CARs are proteins engineered to give T cells the new ability to target a specific toxin. In the case of CAR-T therapies, scientists insert the gene for CARs into T cells from a patient, which then allows the T-cells to attach to cancer cells and kill them. 

The National Cancer Institute estimates there will be roughly 60,000 new cases of leukemia in 2023, resulting in more than 20,000 deaths. 

A third of patients with the blood cancer die within five years of a diagnosis.

The Leukemia and

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