18 Spanish Cancer Patients In Complete Remission After Experimental Treatment


Nobody likes the C word. Well know of someone who suffers from cancer or someone who has died from it. While there are millions of survivors, this disease has done its fair share of killing. Many have mourned the loss of a loved one.

While scientists and researchers are working hard on curing cancer, there is no definitive answer at this point in time. But there is hope. There are experimental treatments being conducted all over, and this one might just give hope to those who think that they have none.

There were around 18 out of 30 Spanish patients who has been diagnosed with incurable blood cancer. They are now in complete remission after going through the experimental treatment. Then, there are also a few more who have seen how the cancer’s progression stopped in its tracks. The best part is that the new treatment option isn’t expensive. In fact, they can also help save those who are going broke from all the medicines, chemotherapy, and radiation.

What they do is use the patient’s own white blood cells. Doctors have found ways to reprogram these so that they are better at identifying and attacking the cancerous cells that cause multiple myeloma. What the treatment does is fantastic because it has essentially saved the lives of the 18 patients. These people had gone through earlier stage treatments like bone marrow transplants and chemotherapy. Unfortunately, these had failed and when that happens, the survival rate becomes “very, very low.” This was according to the Spanish doctor who had led the procedure.

The said doctor is a hematologist is named Carlos Fernández de Larrea. He had made the announcement of the good news just recently. “Even though it is an incurable disease, achieving complete remission has a significant impact on patient prognosis. It is directly linked to greater survival,” Fernández de Larrea told El Pais.

Multiple Myeloma is the incurable and the second-most common blood cancer. This disease starts in the bone marrow where immature blood cells mutate into cancerous forms of white blood cells that are called plasma cells. The treatment, on the other hand, is called ARI-0002h. This is part of a new family of cancer-fighters called CAR-T, the name stands for chimeric antigen receptor T cells. This holds the honor of being the first such European treatment to receive approval for use by a regulatory agency.

The breakthrough treatment is run at the state run hospital in Barcelona and is estimated to cost €90,000 ($102,000). This is actually about one-third of the cost from similar CAR-T options that come from large conglomerates such as Bristol Meyers Squibb and Janssen.

The best part is that CAR-T demonstrated a 60 percent remission rate, with 75 percent of the 30 patients showing no further progression of the disease even after a year. And while the treatment is still in its early stages, it shows a lot of promise and more importantly, it gives the patients hope for a future that once looked bleak.