Positive News! & Cancer Treatment Technology

It’s been a while since I’ve written to everyone.  I hope everyone has had a great summer thus far.

In today’s world, there is no shortage of negative news, or negative spin on regular news in an attempt to blame or shame another party.  But today, I want to share with you some extremely positive news that probably didn’t show up in your Facebook feed or on your local or national televised news.

Novartis, a global healthcare company based in Switzerland, just last week received the first-ever recommended approval by the FDA for the use of CAR-T cell therapy for treatment of young adults with B-cell Acute Lymphoblastic Lymphoma (ALL). *

On top of that, a company called Gilead Sciences also recently announced their intentions to spend almost $12 Billion to acquire a company called Kite Pharma.  Kite Pharma also has a drug in the CAR-T space, called Axi-Cel.  This is similar to Novartis’ drug, except it can be used in adults.*

So, what is CAR-T cell therapy?  In order to describe it in a way that everyone understands, I’ve brought in a local expert, Dr. Michael Tullis, a seasoned vascular surgeon with St. Luke’s and a leader in our medical community.  He wrote:

“This technology represents a revolution in cancer treatment.  Instead of a shotgun approach like chemotherapy or radiation, which kill both cancer cells and normal cells, CAR-T is cancer cell-specific utilizing the patient’s own immune cells (T-cells) with cancer-specific receptors on them. 

The patient undergoes a blood draw from which his immune cells are separated and collected.  Those cells are then sent to the manufacturer where they undergo genetic modification to attach cancer-specific receptors to the cell surface.  The number of immune cells is then expanded.  Finally, the cells are sent back to the cancer treating facility where they are infused into the patient.”

A lot of variables will need to be worked out as this technology becomes more mainstream, including pricing, insurance coverage, and manufacturing, but it is really exciting to see what the future of this amazing technology holds.

When we think of technology, we think of AI, autonomous cars, and smartphones.  But behind the scenes, some of the most advanced research and technological breakthroughs are happening in the healthcare space, and this is no exception.  Almost everyone knows someone that has been affected by cancer, and this seems like a great step towards tackling the various deadly diseases.

You can read more about the Novartis FDA approval by clicking on the link below…


I hope everyone had a great Labor Day Weekend!  As always, please call us if there anything we can do for you.

*This is not a solicitation to sell securities.  I have no direct positions, long or short, in Novartis, Kite Pharma, or Gilead Sciences, and am not recommending a buy, sell, or hold position on any of these securities.  For more information, please contact your financial advisor.

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