Trial to give Leukaemia patients access to potentially life-saving treatment

Leukaemia and lymphoma sufferers will get access to a costly, but potentially life-saving cancer treatment thanks to an Australian-first trial.

AAP reports the treatment works by infusing genetically modified immune cells into patients to fight the cancer.

Dr Kenneth Micklethwaite, the lead cancer researcher at the Westmead Institute for Medical Research, said the treatment was aimed at patients who were no longer responding to chemotherapy.


“For many patients, despite heavy chemotherapy and bone marrow transplants, their leukaemia and lymphoma cannot be eradicated, often resulting in death,” said Dr Micklethwaite.

Westmead Hospital head of cell therapies Professor David Gottlieb said the therapy is very costly, however the trial will allow patients to have the treatment at a fraction of the cost.

“While initial trials conducted in the US have been highly encouraging, these trials are inaccessible to Australian patients, except those willing to travel overseas and pay up to $1 million,” said Prof Gottlieb.

Patients who may be interested in participating in the trial are encouraged to speak to their GP or specialist about their suitability.