First ever Gamma-Delta (γδ) Allogenic CAR-T cell cancer therapy procedure performed in India

Renowned Mumbai-based Oncologist Dr. Vijay Patil in the process enables cutting-edge tech treatment for late-stage solid organ tumors

Mumbai, May 28, 2024: In a significant development which could have a far-reaching positive impact on the treatment of late-stage cancer, renowned Mumbai based Oncologist Dr. Vijay Patil has successfully performed the first ever Gamma-Delta (γδ) CAR T-cell therapy procedure in India on 25th May, 2024, at P.D. Hinduja Hospital here in the city. This was also the first ever allogeneic CAR-T therapy procedure to be performed in India – which means that the T-cells were harvested from another donor and infused in the patient.

Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy holds great promise for late-stage cancer patients. It has already become the new, cutting-edge technology of choice for blood cancer patients, but until now it had remained a pipe-dream for patients with solid organ tumors.

With the successful completion of this procedure, Dr. Vijay Patil and his team have also enabled CAR T-cell therapy to be effectively used for late-stage, solid organ tumors, thereby offering a ray of hope to thousands to patients in India for whom treatment options were limited.

“Since the allogenic CAR-T cells are not yet prepared in India, we had to import them and ensure that they were carefully transported while maintaining a constant temperature of -80 degrees celsius. After the successful completion of this procedure, we are now looking forward to offering this cutting-edge treatment to hundreds of other such patients in India”, said Dr. Patil, post the procedure.

He further explained, “CAR T-cell therapy is a way to get genetically modified T-cells (or immune cells) to destroy cancer cells in the patient’s body. The CAR T-cell therapies presently approved by the US FDA and our homegrown NexCar19 only work against the cancers that have specific ‘locks’ or antigens such as CD19 and BCMA. These adoptive cellular immunotherapies are therefore also restricted to using only the patient’s own (autologous) αβ (Alpha-Beta) T-cells, or those of HLA (human leukocyte antigen)-matched donors. If infused in an HLA-mismatched patient, they can potentially lead to a life-threatening graft-versus-host disease (GvHD).”

“To circumvent these challenges, for the first time in India, we have successfully performed an allogeneic (meaning using donor cells) T-cell therapy using γδ (Gamma-Delta) T-cells, which are a ‘master key’ possessing the capacity to recognize a wide array of antigens, and activating direct killing mechanisms by bursting the cancer cells, also leading to the secretion of proinflammatory molecules known as cytokines, which leads to a further cascade of immune response recruiting other cells including the αβ (Alpha-Beta) T-cells”, concluded Dr. Patil.

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