Health

Abu Dhabi Stem Cell Center successfully manufactures UAE’s first CAR-T cell to treat 11-year-old leukemia patient

The procedure involved manufacturing the cellular product (CAR-T), which is based on the use of the patient’s immune cells, in ADSCC’s Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) laboratories, one of the few laboratories in the Middle East. The treatment lasted five weeks, during which Murad was admitted to ADSCC, the only accredited Center of Excellence in hematopoietic stem cell transplantation in Abu Dhabi. Doctors extracted the patient’s cells and genetically modified his immune cells in the laboratory to fight cancer cells after injecting them intravenously.

Dr Noura Khamis Al Ghaithi, Undersecretary of the Abu Dhabi Department of Health, said: “Under the directives of our wise leadership, Abu Dhabi continues to consolidate its position on the global healthcare map. Through its capabilities and continuous innovation and research efforts in the field of life sciences, we can improve the health and safety of our community members, and beyond. Today, Abu Dhabi’s healthcare sector is built on several pillars that make of the emirate a leading destination for healthcare, especially given the strong government policy, support and guidance, along with the emirate’s advanced infrastructure, healthcare facilities and skilled workforce.”

Dr. Yendry Ventura, CEO of ADSCC, said: “Our success in creating CAR-T therapy here in Abu Dhabi marks a momentous leap in our commitment to making a profound impact regionally. CAR-T therapy It is a remarkable breakthrough in fighting diseases using the body’s immune system, and there was a pressing need to make CAR T cells available in the UAE. This achievement not only brings hope to countless patients but also strengthens our position as pioneers in cutting-edge medical innovation, right here in the heart of the UAE. With the support of the UAE leadership and the Abu Dhabi Department of Health, we aim to revolutionize perceptions of cancer treatment by pushing the boundaries of what can be done. achieved through cell therapy in which genetically modified immune cells are used to precisely target tumors in individuals with specific blood cancers. Incorporating such advancements, providing unparalleled care to complex cases, conducting clinical trials and research will help elevate the healthcare sector and serve humanity addressing prevalent diseases and health issues. “We’re really excited to see Murad doing well.”

Dr Fatima Al Kaabi, Executive Director of the Abu Dhabi Bone Marrow Transplant Program (ADBMT©) at ADSCC, said: “ADSCC researchers, scientists and clinicians have spent the past year preparing for the imminent launch of the engineered CAR-T cell therapy. This milestone demonstrates ADSCC’s unparalleled commitment to the advancement of medical science in the region and is a testament to ADSCC’s capabilities, availability of cutting-edge technologies and its world-class expertise. Given As Murad’s condition does not respond to chemotherapy, our hematologists and scientists worked closely with Murad’s treating doctors at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City (SKMC) for a smooth transfer to ADSCC to receive CAR-T cell therapy, the only effective treatment for his condition. It is a proud moment for all of us to see Murad return to his home and family. The launch of such advanced technology in the country cements the UAE’s position as a global destination for advances and medical research in line with our wise leadership vision.

CAR-T cell therapy has long been a monopoly of foreign pharmaceutical companies and has been an approved treatment in the US since 2017. Due to its difficulty and sensitivity to manufacture, its accessibility has been limited in the region.

Murad’s father Majid expressed his joy at the success of his son’s treatment, the first of its kind in the UAE. He said: “We were devastated when Murad was diagnosed with leukemia again after almost five years of remission. Unfortunately, chemotherapy did not work for him this time. The oncology doctors who treated him at SKMC discussed his case with the doctors at ADSCC and it was decided that the only treatment for his condition was to do CAR-T therapy. We are really lucky that this very advanced advancement was available at this time when Murad needed it. The team provided us with complete information about the procedure, what to expect and the steps to continue the journey of treatment. I did not hesitate even once. Murad is our first child, thanks to Allah, he is now in good health and has returned home to his sister. One word of gratitude is not enough for the whole ADSCC team who helped Murad come. “We are truly fortunate to be in the UAE which has always been our home providing us with care, security and more. “We wish all children good health and to those fighting cancer, you are true heroes.”

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