New CAR T Cell Therapy Option Now Available in Australia For Patients With Aggressive Blood Cancer

Gilead Sciences Australia and New Zealand

For Consumer Media/General Public

  • Kite’s Yescarta® (axicabtagene ciloleucel) now publicly funded for patients with four types of aggressive non-Hodgkin lymphoma
  • Eligible patients can now access Yescarta through Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne and Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, Brisbane, with Sydney sites to follow.
Melbourne, Australia [Thursday 5 August] – Kite, a Gilead company, today announced that its Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) T cell therapy, Yescarta® (axicabtagene ciloleucel), is now publicly funded and available to patients in Australia. Yescarta is now funded for the treatment of adult patients with relapsed or refractory CD-19 positive; diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), primary mediastinal large B-cell lymphoma (PMBCL), transformed follicular lymphoma (TFL) and high grade B-cell lymphoma (HGBCL) who meet the eligibility criteria.1,2
Lymphoma is a cancer of the immune system which affects lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell.3 It is the sixth most common cancer in Australia.3 DLBCL, a non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), is the most common subtype of lymphoma accounting for around 30% of lymphoma cases.3 It affects both men and women and half of people diagnosed are aged over 60.3 Patients with DLBCL who do not respond to (refractory) or fail (relapsed) after treatment often have few or no treatment options available.4 The prognosis for these patients is poor, with a median survival of just six months.4
PMBCL is a rare, aggressive (fast-growing) NHL.5 Most patients with PMBCL are aged between 25 to 40 years.5 TFL is a disease that was initially diagnosed as slow-growing but has become aggressive.6 1-3% of follicular lymphomas will become aggressive each year.6 HGBCL includes the aggressive NHL subtypes double-hit lymphoma (DHL) and triple-hit lymphoma (THL).7
CAR T cell therapy is a form of immunotherapy, which means it uses the body’s own immune system to remove the cancer.8,9 CAR T cell therapy works by transforming T cells to help them find and remove cancerous cells.8,9
Haematologist and Lead of the Aggressive Lymphoma disease group at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and Royal Melbourne Hospital, Associate Professor Michael Dickinson, said: “Many people living with these four forms of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, who have either not responded to treatment or where their cancer has returned, have an urgent need for new therapy options to treat this aggressive blood cancer.”
Yescarta is now available for eligible patients at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne and Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, Brisbane. Additional treatment sites will be available in Sydney in the near future. Patients should speak to their clinician about the appropriate treatment option for them.
Sharon Winton, CEO, Lymphoma Australia,
/Public Release. This material from the originating organization/author(s) may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. The views and opinions expressed are those of the author(s).