Thursday, October 1, 2020
Home Life Style Health & Fitness Medicare Uses Breakthrough Gene Therapy to Cover Some Blood Cancers

Medicare Uses Breakthrough Gene Therapy to Cover Some Blood Cancers

Medicare covers more than 60 million seniors and people with disabilities

Expanding access to a promising but costly treatment, Medicare said Wednesday that it would cover for some blood cancers a breakthrough gene therapy that revs up a patient’s own immune cells to destroy malignancies.

Officials said Medicare would cover CAR-T cell therapies for certain types of lymphoma and leukemia, uses that are approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The cost can run to hundreds of thousands of dollars per patient, not counting hospitalization and other expenses. Medicare Administrator Seema Verma said the decision would provide consistent and predictable access nationwide, opening up treatment options for some patients “who had nowhere else to turn.”

Turbocharge, reprogram cells 

CAR-T uses gene therapy techniques to turbocharge the patient’s own immune system cells, reprogramming them to harbor a “receptor” that zeroes in on cancer, and then to grow hundreds of millions of copies. The revved-up immune cells are returned to the patient’s bloodstream and can continue to fight cancer for months or years.

blood cancers
Medicare covers more than 60 million seniors and people with disabilities. Pixabay

Although side effects can be severe, studies have shown the treatment to be highly effective against certain types of cancers. Researchers are working to add more types to that list. Medicare has been weighing the decision for months. The program often sets the tone for private insurance as well.

ALSO READ: After Effects of Articles 370: Pakistan Suspends Trade with India, Expels Indian High Commissioner

Special program

In its announcement, Medicare said it would cover CAR-T when the treatment is provided in institutions that are enrolled with the FDA in a special program to promote safety. It will also cover the treatment for other uses, if they are recommended by agency-approved medical research literature.

CAR-T uses a different strategy than other gene-therapy techniques. Instead of trying to fix disease-causing genes, it focuses on the patient’s immune system, specifically the T cells that battle foreign substances in the body. The problem with cancer is that malignant cells can often evade detection by the patient’s T cells. CAR-T helps the body’s own T cells do a better job of spotting tumors. Medicare covers more than 60 million seniors and people with disabilities. (VOA)

STAY CONNECTED

19,134FansLike
362FollowersFollow
1,778FollowersFollow

Most Popular

Lack of Vitamin-D May Result in Obesity, Says Study

We have now one more reason to maintain vitamin-D in our body as researchers have found that vitamin D deficiency during early development can...

Contemplating the Indian Constitution In Two Different Ways

BY NEHA HEGDE The Indian Constitution can be viewed in two particular ways. The Conservative Constitution and the Transformative Constitution. One sounds more of criticism...

Students Use Mobile Phones Excessively in Lockdown: Study

Parents and children are spending more time on various screens at home which is seriously affecting their health and now a new study reveals...

Lots of Change in Punjabi and Hindi Rap: Yo Yo Honey Singh

Rap superstar Yo Yo Honey Singh has been around for a decade and a half now, and he says there has been a lot...

People May Get Protection from COVID if They Had Common Cold in Past: Researchers

In a big breakthrough, researchers have found that people who have had about the seasonal or common cold in the past may get protection...

6 Ways to Choose the Best Paid Marketing Agency 

In simple words, Pay per Click is an advertising tool that the advertisers use when they want to advertise their company through another site....

Getting Rid of Stretch Marks During And Post-Pregnancy

Stretch marks are a common annoyance during and post-pregnancy and the easiest and most convenient way of reducing these marks is by following a...

Most Parents Deny To Send Children If Schools Reopen

A majority of 71 percent of parents will not be sending their children to school in October even if schools reopen. With rising COVID cases,...

Recent Comments