IIT-Bombay and Laurus Labs backed ImmunoACT have received the approval for India’s first CAR-T cell therapy, NexCAR19 (Actalycabtagene autoleucel) — a breakthrough treatment for some types of cancers — from the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO).
NexCAR19 has been approved for relapsed-refractory B-cell lymphoma and leukemia.
The approval will offer hope to thousands of blood cancer and lymphoma (cancers of the lymph system) patients in the country who cannot afford to travel abroad to avail the cutting-edge therapy, an advanced form of immunotherapy first launched in the US in 2017. So far, most Indian patients went to the US where it cost around $400,000 or over Rs. 3.3 crore.
Patients who are eligible for the treatment can register with the hospitals offering the treatment for it, said the ImmunoACT in a statement on October 13. To begin with, the therapy would be available in around 20 government and private hospitals treating cancer across most of the major cities, at around Rs 30-35 lakh per patient, it added.
As part of the phase 1 and 2 trial of the therapy in India, 60 patients underwent treatment across various hospitals, such as Tata Memorial Hospitals’ Advanced Centre for Treatment, Research and Education in Cancer in Mumbai.