Personalised cancer treatments inching ever closer
Finding a cure for cancer has long been an unrealised dream for medical researchers. With ongoing technological developments, however, we are making ever-advancing steps in that direction.
One such advancement is ADVA X3 from Israeli firm Adva Biotechnology – which can automatically create potentially life-saving drugs, customized for individual patients.
CAR-T cell treatment is a relatively new, but well known and understood approach to treating cancer (and some other diseases). T cells are a part of our immune system, the part that ‘kills’ cells that have been targeted by the immune response. CAR-T cells (Chimeric Antigen Receptor) are genetically engineered T cells that are used in immunotherapy. Once the CER-T cells have been re-engineered by researchers, they can be reintroduced to, for example, a leukaemia patient, where the CAR-T cells attack and kill the tumours.
To engineer the CAR-T cells currently necessitates extensive manufacturing suites for the manipulation of the cells. The development of the ADVA X3, however, allows for the CAR-T cells to be created in a cost-effective benchtop device. Treatment using current methods is in the region of US$500,000 per patient. ADVA X3 offers the promise of being able to shift production of these lifesaving therapies from pharmaceutical plants to a hospital setting, simplifying the process of making the CAR-T cells and reducing both production costs and the time it takes to get the treatment into patients.
The potential is enormous. By placing these machines in hospitals, the door is opened to generating specific and tailored treatment to larger numbers of patients. By reducing costs to as little as a quarter of current approaches and will allow the number of doses to be ramped up to as many as 3000 over 3 years.