UPMC, Hillman Cancer Center
The new immunotherapy treatment CAR-T represent a paradigm change in cancer therapy. For the first time, cancer treatment can be directed specifically to the cancer cells, sparing most of the normal cells, and resulting in very high remission rates in patients who have otherwise failed all other available treatment. Many patients who would have otherwise succumbed to their disease, are alive and well today, as a result of the CAR-T treatment.
This treatment is in its early phases and will require more refining through research and clinical trials. However, clinical experience will be greatly enhanced as well by enrolling patients on the commercially FDA-approved products. While the cost of the treatment is quite significant now, it is likely to decline as better manufacturing and increased competition between commercial providers. Furthermore, the cost of the successful CAR-T therapy is significantly lower than multiple lines of therapy, that are unlikely to yield a meaningful response, but are offered for the lack of effective therapy.
We strongly recommend that CMS approves CAR-T and support further development on this breakthrough cancer therapy.
Mounzer Agha, MD
Director, Mario Lemieux Center for Blood Cancers
Clinical Director, Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation Program
Visiting Research Associate Professor of Medicine
University of Pittsburgh