Sask. cancer patients may find new therapy “life-changing”
Sask. cancer patients may find new therapy “life–changing“
The Saskatchewan Cancer Agency is offering a revolutionary new treatment option for patients suffering from blood cancers and lymphomas: Chimeric Antigen Receptor T–cell (CAR T) therapy. This therapy works by collecting a patient’s own immune system cells and re–engineering them with genetic material so they can attack cancer cells. The cells are then re–infused into the patient to help rid their bodies of cancer cells.
Gary Carriere, who was diagnosed with lymphoma in March 2020, received CAR T treatment in Montreal — as a last resort after several rounds of chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant. “CAR T, it does work, big time,” said Carriere “I’ve done a lot of activities that I couldn’t do three months ago, CAR T is really, really working.”
The lead physician for the therapy in the province, Dr. Mark Bosch, estimates that the therapy will help 10 people a year in the province. The Saskatchewan Government is providing initial funding of just over $2 million plus $6.7 million annually to cover the program‘s cost. Health minister Paul Merriman said that the case count is enough to justify providing the therapy in Saskatchewan.
Carriere, from Cumberland House, expressed appreciation for having the treatment available closer to home, and he said it was “very lonely and isolating to be far from home” when he received the treatment in Montreal. While CAR T therapy has been available since January, no patients have used the therapy as of yet.
CAR T therapy is a life–changing treatment for many patients and is a last chance for a cure. It is a complex yet revolutionary therapy that is helping patients in Saskatchewan and other parts of the world. The Saskatchewan Cancer Agency is providing this treatment to eligible patients and is making a huge difference in the lives of many.