CAR-T lymphocyte therapy tried for the first time in Greece at Evangelismos public hospital
- Written by E.Tsiliopoulos
The widely reported as promising CAR T-cell therapy for cancer patients was tried at a Greek public hospital for the first time in the country on January 22, on a patient suffering from a chemoresistant primary mediastinal lymphoma, hospital officials said at a press conference on Tuesday attended by Deputy Minister of Health Vasilis Kontozamanis.
The therapy was provided at the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit of Evangelismos Hospital in Athens, which was selected in 2019 to implement CAR-T lymphocyte therapy and successfully completed the certification process.
The blood therapy is usually provided for cancer patients who suffer from high-grade malignant lymphomas and acute lymphoblastic leukemia, and is considered revolutionary in terms of using a patient’s own altered white blood cells to kill cancer cells.
White blood cells, or lymphocytes, are first collected from the patient, then sent to a specialized laboratory in the US where they are engineered to produce specific chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) on their surface.
The modified cells are then injected back into the patient, where they are expected to latch onto the coordinating antigen on tumor cells, then seek out and kill cancerous cells.
Kontozamanis called the new option a great day for the hospital and stressed that the ministry of health would offer new treatments to patients in need.