FDA Panel Weighs Leukemia Gene-Therapy Treatment

A group of cancer experts started weighing Wednesday whether to recommend U.S. regulatory approval for a first-of-its kind gene therapy targeting an aggressive form of leukemia that occurs in children and young adults.

The treatment, called CTL019 and developed by Swiss drug giant Novartis AG, works by modifying a patient’s own immune cells to make them more effective at hunting down and killing tumor cells. It involves removing some of the patient’s blood and genetically modifying the T-cells, a type of immune cell, before re-infusion.

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