​Hospital in Seoul treats 16-month-old leukemia patient with self-produced CAR-T treatment

By Kim Joo-heon Posted : December 26, 2022, 16:37 Updated : December 26, 2022, 16:37

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SEOUL -- Using chimeric antigen receptor T-cells, autologous white blood cells genetically modified after being obtained from the patient's blood, pediatricians saved a 16-month-old leukemia patient. The child treated at one of the largest hospitals in Seoul became the youngest patient who recovered through CAR-T therapy in South Korea.    
Chimeric antigen receptor T (CAR-T) cells attack tumors' antigens by genetically manipulating and culturing T cells, white blood cells of the immune system. The T cells are administered back to the patient after being genetically manipulated and massively cultured. CAR-T treatment is known to cause fewer side effects than administering someone else's white blood cells as it treats cancer by activating the patient's own immune system.  
Asan Medical Center said in a statement that the child diagnosed with leukemia in July 2021 was successfully treated through CAR-T treatment. Previously, stem cells from her mother were administered to the young patient but the disease recurred shortly after. After she received CAR-T treatment in October 2022, no remaining cancer cells were detected. 
"Although the child has recovered herself from the disease, we will continue to try our best to treat her as the relapse possibility is not fully eradicated," Asan Medical Center's pediatrician Im Ho-joon said in a statement on December 26.
Although CAR-T cells are regarded as the next-generation solution for cancer treatments by some doctors, long-term application of CAR-T cells could trigger cytokine release syndrome (CRS) and other immune-effector cell-associated neurotoxicity syndromes (ICANS) which could severely threaten the lives of patients. 
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