NeoCosmos reports a Greek assistant professor of medicine at the VUmc Cancer Centre in Amsterdam, Dr. Maria Themeli, is determined to make her patent for the treatment of blood cancer with the production of CAR-T cells freely available for all. First biopharma sponsors quoted high production costs for the CAR-T cells but Dr. Themeli and a team of researchers were able to produce the cells at a smaller scale than would be necessary for full-scale commercial production. Themeli believes commercial-level production of CAR-T cells can be achieved at lower costs than those claimed by biopharma companies.
She told the Athens News Agency that “there are difficulties, because the pharmaceutical companies interested in the production of CAR-T cells (Novartis and Kite Pharma) have given very high production costs, approximately €350,000, when the production at academic level does not exceed 50,000 euros.” Insurance companies in many cases will back off from paying as the treatment costs when biophrma involved are too high. Themali believes that immunotherapy by itself, or in combination with other treatments, can substantially improve the survival rates of those battling cancer.
Dr. Maria Themeli