This year we witnessed a historic victory for cancer patients when a revolutionary, innovative immunotherapy was approved, ushering in a new era in the treatment of cancer.
The FDA approved CAR (chimeric antigen receptor) T-cell immunotherapy, a treatment in which a patient's T-cells, the soldiers of the immune system, are genetically reprogrammed to find and kill cancer cells. LLS recognized the early promise of this approach. Over the past two decades, LLS provided $40 million in funding for more than 15 researchers and companies around the world to develop this revolutionary approach to treating cancer. LLS's long term investment has paid off. Two types of CAR T-cell immunotherapy were approved by the FDA in 2017.
CAR-T for Leukemia
Kymriah (tisagenlecleucel) was the first CAR-T cell immunotherapy approved by the FDA on August 30, 2017. It is approved for children and young adults up to 25 years of age who relapsed or did not respond to therapy for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).
LLS funded much of the research advancing this therapy at the University of Pennsylvania for over two decades through its Specialized Center of Research Program.
CAR-T for non-Hodgkin lymphoma
Yescarta (axicabtagene ciloleucel) was approved by the FDA on October 18, 2017 for adults with several types of relapsed and refractory non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
LLS funded the Kite, a Gilead Company, clinical trial for this therapy through its Therapy Acceleration Program®, a strategic initiative through which LLS partners directly with biotechnology companies to help accelerate the development of promising therapies.