Prez launches India's first homegrown CAR T-cell therapy for cancer treatment, calls it 'new hope'

President Droupadi Murmu on Thursday launched India's first indigenously-developed CAR T-cell therapy for treatment of cancer, hailing it as a "major breakthrough" that provides a "new hope for the humankind" in the battle against the disease.
President Droupadi Murmu
President Droupadi Murmu

Mumbai | President Droupadi Murmu on Thursday launched India's first indigenously-developed CAR T-cell therapy for treatment of cancer, hailing it as a "major breakthrough" that provides a "new hope for the humankind" in the battle against the disease.

During the launch event held at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay located in Powai here, she also said the development of this therapy is an example of the 'Make in India' initiative.

Developed by the IIT Bombay and the Tata Memorial Centre, this gene-based therapy will help in curing different types of cancer. This NexCAR19 CAR T-cell therapy is the country's first 'Made in India' CAR T-cell therapy, which will significantly bring down the cost of cancer treatment.

Speaking on the occasion, President Murmu said the CAR T-cell therapy is considered as one of the phenomenal advances in medical sciences.

"The development of this therapy is also an example of the 'Make in India' initiative and speaks volume about Indian scientists and physicians," she said.

"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," she said.

Sudeep Gupta, Director of the Tata Memorial Centre, said the CAR T-cell therapy has been an enormously expensive treatment which is out of the reach of an overwhelming majority of people.

"NexCAR19 has been rolled out at approximately one-tenth of the price at which it is available outside India," he said.

IIT Bombay Director Prof Subhasis Chaudhuri said the treatment costs approximately Rs 4 crore abroad.

The low-cost CAR T-cell therapy is a huge achievement for our country and for cancer patients in India, and it places India firmly on the global map of cell and gene therapy, he said.

Gupta said the creation and rollout of NexCAR19 is a historic milestone in the field of cancer care and genetic engineering.

"This treatment is not only a scientific achievement of the highest order, but also has immense practical application. NexCAR19 will save many, many lives and wipe many, many tears," he said.

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