FARIDABAD: Amrita Hospital in Faridabad has pioneered the implementation of CAR T-cell (Chimeric Antigen Receptor) therapy for specific cancer cases, marking a significant breakthrough in the treatment of B-cell lymphoma and leukemia. This innovative approach has shown promising results in patients facing relapse and refractory conditions. Currently, four B-cell lymphoma patients have either undergone or are undergoing this therapy at Amrita Hospital, with ongoing follow-up assessments.
In India, CAR T-cell therapy is not widely available, and only a few clinical centers possess the necessary access and expertise to administer it. The procedure involves genetically modifying a patient’s T cells in a laboratory setting, enabling these modified cells to selectively target and attack cancer cells. Subsequently, these modified T cells are reintroduced into the patient’s body.
Dr. Prashant Mehta, Senior Consultant and Program Director at Amrita Hospital, emphasized the transformative potential of CAR T-cell therapy, describing it as a groundbreaking method that utilizes the body’s immune strength to target cancer cells while minimizing effects on other organs. These “living drugs,” or CAR-T cells, are genetically reprogrammed T-lymphocytes that specifically target proteins on the surface of cancer cells, particularly effective in the treatment of certain blood cancers such as B-cell lymphoma, B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), and multiple myeloma.
The process involves extracting white blood cells from the patient, modifying T lymphocytes to express the chimeric antigen receptor (CAR), and infusing them back after conditioning chemotherapy. Unlike traditional chemotherapy, CAR T-cell therapy is typically administered only once and holds the promise of providing a permanent cure for specific cancer types.
Dr. Sanjeev Singh, Medical Director at Amrita Hospital, highlighted the significance of making CAR T-cell therapy more accessible to patients. The collaboration between Amrita Hospital and ImmunoACT, an IIT Bombay incubated company, has resulted in the development of NexCAR19, India’s first commercially available CAR-T therapy. The therapy has received Marketing Authorization approval from the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) for treating relapsed/refractory B-cell lymphomas and leukemia.
Dr. Rahul Purwar, Founder and CEO of ImmunoACT, expressed a vision to make cutting-edge cell and gene therapy products available in India through indigenous research and development. The collaboration aims to establish a national-level collaborative cell therapy lab at Amrita Hospital, enhancing access to CAR-T cell therapy for a broader segment of the Indian population.