United Arab Emirates: Breakthrough in treatment of 11-year-old leukemia patient


Abu Dhabi: Experts from the Abu Dhabi Stem Cell Center (ADSCC), a subsidiary of PureHealth, have successfully manufactured the UAE’s first CAR-T cell to treat an 11-year-old boy battling fierce leukemia . Engineered CAR-T cell therapies are recognized as a breakthrough in the treatment of blood cancer.

The boy, Murad, was diagnosed with leukemia more than five years ago and went into remission, but unfortunately, the leukemia returned six months ago. He underwent chemotherapy according to standard protocols for his case, but did not respond. At the time, there was little hope for his case, as CAR-T cell therapy was the only treatment option for him.

Engineered CAR-T cell therapies are recognized as a breakthrough in the treatment of blood cancer.

The procedure involved manufacturing the cellular product (CAR-T), which is based on the use of the child’s immune cells, in ADSCC’s Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) laboratories, one of the few laboratories in the Middle East.

During the five-week treatment, the boy 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 gain the ability to fight cancer cells after injecting them intravenously into the patient.

CAR-T therapy has long been the exclusive domain of foreign pharmaceutical companies and has been an approved treatment in the United States since 2017.

Due to its difficulty and sensitivity of manufacturing, its accessibility has been limited in the region. PureHealth is the largest healthcare platform in the Middle East.


On this occasion, Dr. Noura Khamis Al Ghaithi, Undersecretary of the Abu Dhabi Department of Health, stated: “Under the directives of our wise leadership, Abu Dhabi continues to consolidate its position on the global healthcare map. Through its capabilities and continued innovation and research efforts in the field of life sciences, we can improve the health and safety of members of our community and beyond.

“Today, Abu Dhabi’s healthcare sector is built on several pillars that make the Emirate a leading healthcare destination, especially given the strong government support and guidance, along with the Emirate’s advanced infrastructure, facilities health and its qualified workforce”.

Dr. Yendry Ventura, CEO of ADSCC, stated: “Our success in creating CAR-T therapy here in Abu Dhabi marks a momentous leap in our commitment to making a profound regional impact. CAR-T therapy is a remarkable advancement in fighting diseases using the body’s immune system, and there was a pressing need for CAR-T cells to be available in the UAE.

Pushing the limits

“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 achieved through cell therapy, which uses genetically engineered immune cells. modified to precisely target tumors in individuals with specific blood. cancers.

“Bringing these advancements, providing unparalleled care to complex cases, and conducting clinical trials and research will help elevate the healthcare sector and serve humanity in addressing prevalent diseases and health issues. We are truly excited to see Murad doing well “.

Dr Fatima Al Kaabi, Executive Director of the Abu Dhabi Bone Marrow Transplant (ADBMT) program at ADSCC, said: “ADSCC researchers, scientists and clinicians have spent the past year preparing for the imminent launch of the therapy. engineering CAR-T cell phone. 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 world-class expertise.

“Since Murad’s condition does not respond to chemotherapy, our hematologists and scientists worked closely with Murad’s treating physicians 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 medical advancements and research in line with our wise leadership vision.”


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