Cell Therapy, such as Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-Cell Therapy, or CAR-T therapy, is a promising and innovative treatment option for some lymphoma patients in Canada. It is a type of immunotherapy that improves the effectiveness of a patient’s T-cells, a type of cell in your body that plays a central role in the immune response. These T-Cells then recognize the specific cancer cells in your body to attack and destroy them. For our patient advocate Charlotte, CAR-T therapy was the best option available to treat her relapsed Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma (DLBCL).
CAR-T therapy is only approved in Canada at this time to treat patients with relapsed/refractory DLBCL, and it is currently only funded for treatment in Ontario, Quebec, and Alberta. This means that patients in certain provinces cannot receive this treatment, or they have to travel out of province or to the United States to access it. Further, in the provinces that it is funded in, access is limited to certain centers and there is a limit to the number of patients that can receive this therapy on a monthly basis.
Inequitable access is a major barrier in Canada. New and innovative treatment options provide patients with hope when they are at the point where few treatment options remain. With the help of her healthcare team led by Dr. John Kuruvilla at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Charlotte was able to access this treatment through a clinical trial at a hospital close to home. She shares her inspirational journey of hope and urges others to continue to self-educate and advocate for their health.
To learn more about Charlotte’s story, please visit MacLean’s for the complete article and accompanying video.