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President Droupadi Murmu Unveils India's 1st Indigenous CAR T-Cell Therapy

Written by : Jayati Dubey

April 12, 2024

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Created by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay and Tata Memorial Centre, this gene-based therapy is being introduced in India at a fraction of its international cost.

President Droupadi Murmu unveiled India's inaugural CAR T-cell therapy for cancer treatment, heralding it as a significant advancement offering "fresh optimism in the fight against the disease."

Created by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay and Tata Memorial Centre, this gene-based therapy is being introduced in India at a fraction of its international cost, according to a senior official.

Addressing the launch ceremony at IIT Bombay, Murmu highlighted the indigenous creation of the therapy as a testament to the Make in India initiative.

Make in India Initiative Fuels Innovation

CAR T-cell therapy entails modifying a patient's immune system cells in the lab to combat cancer cells. The 'NexCAR19 CAR T-cell therapy' marks India's inaugural domestically produced CAR T-cell therapy, promising a considerable reduction in treatment expenses.

Describing this therapy as a remarkable stride in medical science, the president emphasized its significance in her remarks.

According to her, the creation of this therapy exemplifies the 'Make in India' initiative and underscores the expertise of Indian scientists and doctors.

"The launch of India's first gene therapy is a major breakthrough in our battle against cancer. As this line of treatment, named CAR T-cell therapy, is accessible and affordable, it provides a new hope for the whole of humankind," Murmu added.

Significant Cost Reduction

Sudeep Gupta, director, Tata Memorial Centre, highlighted the exorbitant cost of CAR T-cell therapy, which was beyond the means of most individuals. He noted that NexCar19 requires custom manufacturing for each patient under strict conditions but has been introduced at around one-tenth of its overseas price.

While Prof. Subhasis Chaudhuri, director, IIT Bombay, mentioned that while the treatment abroad costs about INR 4 Cr, it is priced at INR 30 Lakh in India.

Moreover, he emphasized that the affordable CAR T-cell therapy marks a significant milestone for both the nation and cancer patients, positioning India prominently in the realm of cell and gene therapy worldwide.

"Just like Chandrayaan-3 that launched India's entry into elite space club, the CAR-T cell therapy heralds India's entry into the cell and genetic engineering group," Chaudhuri added.

Gupta highlighted that the therapy's implementation marks a milestone in cancer care and genetic engineering, with the potential to benefit around 20,000 Indians annually. He expressed that beyond its scientific significance, the treatment holds substantial practical value, emphasizing that NexCAR19 has the potential to save numerous lives and alleviate profound suffering.

The rollout of NexCAR19 CAR T-cell therapy heralds a new chapter in cancer care and genetic engineering in India.

Growing Adoption of NexCAR-19 Therapy

Owing to its significance and benefits, many hospitals in India adopted NexCAR19 therapy. FOr instance - Bengaluru-based Cytecare Hospitals. This positions Cytecare Hospitals as the first healthcare facility in Karnataka to provide CAR-T cell therapy, marking a significant development in the state's medical landscape.

Similarly, Mumbai-based PD Hinduja Hospital introduced the NexCAR19 therapy to address the needs of patients aged 15 and above with relapsed or refractory B-cell lymphoma and B-acute lymphoblastic leukemia.


About Chime India

The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) is an executive organization dedicated to serving senior digital health leaders. CHIME includes more than 5,000 members in 56 countries and two US territories and partners with over 150 healthcare IT businesses and professional services firms. CHIME enables its members and business partners to collaborate, exchange ideas, develop professionally and advocate the effective use of information management to improve the health and care throughout the communities they serve. CHIME's members are chief information officers (CIOs), chief medical information officers (CMIOs), chief nursing information officers (CNIOs), chief innovation officers (CIOs), chief digital officers (CDOs), and other senior healthcare leaders. The CHIME India Chapter became the first international chapter outside North America in 2016 and is now a community of over 70+ members in India. For more information, please visit www.chimecentral.org

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