A second new personalized treatment for cancer has won approval from the Food and Drug Administration — a clear sign that such treatments will become more widely available for patients with no other options.

The treatment is called CAR-T and can have dramatic effects in some patients. But it is both grueling and expensive and will remain a last-ditch treatment for a few, specific cancer types.

Gilead’s treatment is for the most common form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a particularly aggressive cancer called diffuse large B cell lymphoma, or DLBCL, which affects about 30,000 Americans each year.

The company that will market it, Gilead Sciences, has priced it at $373,000 and the FDA warns it can cause severe side effects.

The therapy is called Yescarta — the generic name is axicabtagene ciloleucel. It's described as gene therapy because the patient's own immune cells are removed and genetically engineered to better fight off the cancer.

It's a little different from similar approaches in which a cancer patient's immune cells are harvested and numbers boosted in the lab. And it's different from other gene therapy treatments for inherited diseases.

"Yescarta, a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapy, is the second gene therapy approved by the FDA and the first for certain types of non-Hodgkin lymphoma," the FDA said in a statement.

https://www.statnews.com/2017/10/18/...ar-t-approval/