July 23, 2024

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Immunotherapy:  How expensive is magic CAR-T therapy to treat cancers?

Immunotherapy:  How expensive is magic CAR-T therapy to treat cancers?


Immunotherapy:  How expensive is magic CAR-T therapy to treat cancers?

Expensive prices coupled with magical efficacy make CAR-T products a hot spot in cancer/tumor treatment.


Immunotherapy:  How expensive is magic CAR-T therapy to treat cancers?


New Chinese CAR-T therapy drug approved for listing in the United States

On February 28, local time, the biologics license application of Sidaki Olenza was officially approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The drug is used for the treatment of patients with relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma, which is the first in some countries. FDA-approved CAR-T cell therapy.


1. What is the effect?

Patients with relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma experienced deep and durable responses with an objective response rate of 98% in the pivotal CARTITUDE-1 study of Cedakia Complete remission (refers to the complete disappearance of all visible lesions for at least 4 weeks or the complete disappearance of all symptoms and signs for at least 4 weeks).
At a mean follow-up of 18 months, the median duration of response was 21.8 months.


2. How about the price?

It seems that the effect is good, but the price may be shocking. According to Times Finance, the specific price of the Sidaki Orenza is unknown, but the online price is 465,000 US dollars / needle.


One shot can kill cancer cells, what is CAR-T therapy?


CAR-T (chimeric antigen receptor T-cell immunotherapy) refers to the expression of receptors capable of recognizing tumor-specific antigens on the surface of T cells through genetic engineering technology.


The T cells with ordinary functions are transformed through culture, and the transformed T cells are then infused back into the patient’s body, so that the T cells can precisely destroy cancer cells in the body.

CAR-T therapy usually consists of four steps:

1) Extract

Ordinary immune T cells are extracted and isolated from patients, and then transported to the preparation institution through the cold chain;

2) Retrofit

Using engineering gene technology to transform the patient’s T cells to form CAR-T cells;

3) Amplification

The CAR-T cells are massively expanded in the laboratory, pass strict quality control and quality inspection, and then transport the CAR-T cells back to the patient’s hospital through the cold chain.


4) Return input

After arriving at the hospital, the CAR-T cells are infused back into the patient. Once CAR-T cells encounter tumor cells expressing the corresponding antigen in a patient, they will be activated and massively expanded, exerting great lethality to destroy cancer cells.

Before the listing of Cidaki Orenza, there were also some CAR-T drugs on the market, but the prices of these drugs were very high, reaching sky-high prices.


3. Inventory of the CAR-T products listed before, each of which is quite expensive

  • Kymriah: About $475,000
  • Abecma: About $419,500
  • Breyanzi: About $410,300
  • Tecartus: About $373,000
  • Yescarta: About $373,000
  • Axicabtagene Ciloleucel: about $189,942

It can be seen that the price of most of the CAR-T therapies that have been on the market is quite expensive at every turn. Why is CAR-T so expensive?

Because CAR-T is a personalized customized cell therapy, each patient needs to be produced in a separate batch.

The preparation process of CAR-T cells requires strict quality control and quality inspection. This process takes about a month, and the cost of preparing one CAR-T cell is about US$100,000.

In the whole process, the culture medium, plasmids, ribozymes and other consumables used for culture and transfer cost about US$50,000/dose, accounting for about 50% of the total cost. In addition, many CAR-T products need to be produced by For manual production, the training cost of a qualified employee also requires 60,000-100,000 US dollars per person. The high production cost leads to the high price of CAR-T.

Are such expensive CAR-T drugs effective against all cancers? Can it make cancer completely conquered by humans?


Can CAR-T products cure all cancers?


In addition to diffuse large B lymphoma, CAR-T has a good effect on some other relapsed and refractory hematological tumors, including leukemia, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and multiple myeloma.

However, the current clinical application of CAR-T therapy The application is still relatively “niche”, and its indications are only on blood tumors.


For solid tumors such as lung cancer, gastric cancer, and liver cancer that are common in our lives, CAR-T has not been successfully used.


Moreover, CAR-T therapy is not all benefits, it also has certain side effects, including cytokine release syndrome (CRS), CAR-T-related encephalopathy syndrome, hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis/macrophage activation Syndrome, etc., need to be evaluated by a professional doctor before treatment.


However CAR-T therapy is not suitable for everyone, also not 100% successful to treat cancers/tumors.  Let’s keep watching its development and hope it can save more lives. 




Immunotherapy:  How expensive is magic CAR-T therapy to treat cancers?

(source:internet, reference only)

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