While Israel's medical system is intensely focused on the fight against coronavirus, other patients can not be ignored. Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital said Monday morning it saved the life of a 75-year old cancer patient using an innovative treatment called CAR T, which is only tried on patients who have not responded to any of the standard treatments.
"Advanced CAR T technology is a treatment where a small amount of immune cells produced from the patient's blood is taken and sent abroad, where it undergoes a genetic engineering process," said Prof. Paulina Stefanski, Director of Bone Marrow and Immunotherapy Department at Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital. "The engineered cell specifically fights against the patient's tumor and is returned to the patient's body. The treatment of CART is given to patients with diffuse lymphoma cancer as in the case of life and acute lymphoblastic leukemia. The treatment is approved in a limited number of countries around the world and Israel belongs to this group. Hadassah also joined the distinguished list of the world's leading centers that have received approval from international authorities for providing this innovative treatment."
Stefanski noted that shipping cells abroad and receiving them back became a difficult task due to the global crisis. "There are not many flights departing and arriving in the country, and we worked very closely with the international company Novartis to fit their schedule. Everything is designed very accurately and meticulously, the teams here are changing the world so we can continue to provide life-saving treatments to our patients."
"The patient has been treated with us for many years," Stefanski added. "Unfortunately, every few years the disease recurred, and it reached the maximum number of chemotherapy treatments that can be passed. The decision to take CAR T was made with him and his family right before the epidemic broke out in Israel."
The patient, Chaim, added, "I have a simple illness that requires treatment at a certain time, and the situation was confusing. For a moment I was more afraid of the cancer. "The lovely doctors at the hospital were attentive to my concerns and we had very long conversations together on the subject. The conversations calmed me down and the urgency of the treatment was clear."
"When I arrived with my wife at the Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital, we realized at one moment that it was really safe here. Anyone in need of life-saving treatment is not waiting at home. Everything is running fast, the teams are keeping watch over us, there is nothing to fear, on the contrary. Today I urge everyone to continue to go to the hospitals and receive treatments and not to worry."