What is CAR-T cell therapy?
CAR-T cell therapy is a completely new way of treating multiple myeloma.
A person’s T cells (immune cells) are extracted, genetically altered to recognise cancer cells, and then infused back into the person, where they seek out and destroy the myeloma.
Unlike cancer therapies that are continuous or require repeat courses, CAR-T cell therapy is a one-off procedure.
The CAR-T cell therapy, Cilta-cel has been approved for use in the United States for people with relapsed refractory myeloma who have exhausted existing therapies. Approval is based on the CARTITUDE-1 clinical trial which found that the therapy was effective in those who had progressed on existing therapies.
What is the Government considering?
Now available overseas, this CAR-T cell therapy is pending approval in Australia. Currently, it is only available in Australia through clinical trials.
The Federal Government’s Medical Services Advisory Committee is considering a funding application for CAR-T cell therapy for multiple myeloma where the disease has progressed following three or more prior therapies.
Once registered, CAR-T cell therapy will be prohibitively expensive unless the Government funds the procedure.
Cilta-cel is being investigated more broadly and it is hoped that down the track it will be made available at earlier stages of the disease.
How can I make my voice heard?
Myeloma Australia and our Medical Scientific Advisory Group have provided feedback to the government committee, but it is important that the voices of Australians impacted by multiple myeloma are heard. Please let them know what funded access to CAR-T cell therapy would mean to you and your family.