Cancer-killing drug approved, but will you be able to afford it? - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Cancer-killing drug approved, but will you be able to afford it?

This is an IV bag of the cancer drug Kymriah, approved on Aug. 30, 2017 by the FDA for treatment of a childhood cancer. (Source: Novartis via AP) This is an IV bag of the cancer drug Kymriah, approved on Aug. 30, 2017 by the FDA for treatment of a childhood cancer. (Source: Novartis via AP)

(RNN) - The Food and Drug Association has approved the first cell-based gene therapy in the United States, opening the door for therapy that will attack and destroy cancer cells.

But advocacy groups are afraid the historic new drug may turn out to be the most expensive ever sold in the U.S.

The FDA-approved drug Kymriah has been called a “living drug” because involves using genetically modified immune cells from patients to attack their cancer, according to NPR.

The drug has been approved to treat children and young adults with lymphoblastic leukemia, a disease of the blood and bone marrow that is the most common childhood cancer in the U.S.

"New technologies such as gene and cell therapies hold out the potential to transform medicine and create an inflection point in our ability to treat and even cure many intractable illnesses," said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb.

The treatment involves altering the patient’s own immune system by removing T-cells and genetically modifying them to recognize, attack and kill cancer cells.

The drug has shown promising remission and survival rates in clinical trials, the FDA said.

While the drug marks a watershed moment in the treatment of cancer, it will cost about $450,000 for a round of treatment. The price is well below the $700,000 that was estimated before the approval of the drug.

Novartis, the company that makes the drug, chose the $450,000 price tag because it makes the medicine accessible while still returning a profit. 

Analysts say it's worth it.

Copyright 2017 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.

  • Latest health & fitness newsLatest health & fitness newsMore>>

  • US health agency to crack down on risky stem cell offerings

    US health agency to crack down on risky stem cell offerings

    Thursday, November 16 2017 1:48 PM EST2017-11-16 18:48:35 GMT
    Saturday, November 18 2017 1:59 PM EST2017-11-18 18:59:51 GMT
    U.S. health authorities say they will crack down on doctors pushing stem cell therapies that pose the gravest risks to patients.
    U.S. health authorities say they will crack down on doctors pushing stem cell therapies that pose the gravest risks to patients.
  • FDA OKs new therapy for some hemophilia patients

    FDA OKs new therapy for some hemophilia patients

    Thursday, November 16 2017 1:38 PM EST2017-11-16 18:38:50 GMT
    Saturday, November 18 2017 9:30 AM EST2017-11-18 14:30:55 GMT
    U.S. regulators have approved the first new treatment in nearly two decades to prevent internal bleeding in certain patients with hemophilia, an inherited blood-clotting disorder.
    U.S. regulators have approved the first new treatment in nearly two decades to prevent internal bleeding in certain patients with hemophilia, an inherited blood-clotting disorder.
  • California officials probe source of Legionnaires' cases

    California officials probe source of Legionnaires' cases

    Thursday, November 16 2017 12:28 PM EST2017-11-16 17:28:52 GMT
    Friday, November 17 2017 8:57 PM EST2017-11-18 01:57:45 GMT
    Three new cases of Legionnaires' disease have been identified in Southern California and officials are looking at the possibility there may be a source outside Disneyland, where at least 11 of the patients visited...
    Three new cases of Legionnaires' disease have been identified in Southern California and officials are looking at the possibility there may be a source outside Disneyland, where at least 11 of the patients visited in September, according to reports.
Powered by Frankly