Experimental Treatment in Spain Helped Bring 18 Cancer Patients in Total Remission

The Clinic Hospital in Barcelona announced promising results for individuals diagnosed with multiple myeloma. 

This is the second most common type of blood cancer. One Joan Gel, a 67-year-old resident of Mataro in Barcelona, used to work at a factory for detergents. 

Now he’s retired and says he owes his life to the public healthcare system of Spain. Twelve years ago, he was diagnosed with this blood cancer. He tried different treatments, but each of them failed to help him, including chemotherapy and bone marrow transplant. 

Things changed when he was offered by Barcelona’s Clinic Hospital to try an experimental therapy named ARI-0002h which he gladly accepted.

This Experimental Therapy Helps Put Gel & Other 17 Patients in Remission 

One of Gel’s doctors, hematologist Carlos Fernandez de Larrea announced at a recent news conference that his patient Gel is in total remission along with 17 other out of 30 patients who took part in the trial.

These 18 people showed no evidence of illness and a remission rate of 60 percent after the therapy. Multiple myeloma is an incurable tumor of the bone marrow that normally has immature cells which transform into new red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. 

This disease triggers abnormal plasma cell growth. This white blood cell produces antibodies that are our first defense against infection. The rate of survival is around 50 percent. 

Although it’s not curable, complete remission has a major influence on the prognosis for the patient. 

What Does the Experimental Therapy Involve?

This innovative therapy extracts blood from the patients and chooses their T cells, another type of white blood cell. Then, these cells are redesigned in the lab using genetic engineering and improved in their ability to recognize cancerous cells.

Gel still remembers the day when the hospital staff came into his room with the treatment. It happened in the summer of 2020 when the measures for isolation due to Covid-19 were recently placed. 

When they were put back into his body, the reengineered cells identified the cancerous cells better and removed them. 

Entire remission doesn’t mean a person is cured; however, it does mean that there are no symptoms of the illness. De Larrea notes that complete remission in the case of this illness increases the patient’s survival rates.

ARI-0002h, for Gel, was his fifth and the most desperate try to fight off cancer.

It’s a new-gen treatment known as CAR-T. The T-cells are engineered to produce specific receptors. This type of treatment has offered plenty of hope in the treatment of various tumors ranging from leukemia to lymphomas. 

The ARI project is named after Ariana Benede. This 18-year-old with ALL’s helped the scientists to better their research prior to her death in 2016. All of the 30 participants in the experimental trial had poor responses to the regular therapy for multiple myeloma before they were enrolled in the treatment.