When all other treatments failed to cure the two infants of leukemia, doctors at London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital used genetically engineered immune cells from a donor to treat them. Reportedly the children are now in remission. Albeit a medical first, some researchers note that because the children received chemotherapy prior to the experimental treatment, "they failed to show the cell treatment actually cured the kids."
“The patient could be treated immediately, as opposed to taking cells from a patient and manufacturing them,” says Julianne Smith, vice president of CAR-T development for Cellectis, which specializes in supplying universal cells.
In the off-the-shelf approach, blood is collected from a donor and then turned into “hundreds” of doses that can then be stored frozen, says Smith. “We estimate the cost to manufacture a dose would be about $4,000,” she says. That’s compared to a cost of around $50,000 to alter a patient’s cells and return them.
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