I am proud to announce that the novel life-saving cancer treatment CAR-T therapy will become available in Australia, saving patients from travelling overseas for the treatment that costs up to $500,000.
CAR-T therapy, Kymriah®, will be made available to Australian children and young adults with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia that has relapsed or is refractory to other treatments, following a positive recommendation from the medical experts at the Medical Services Advisory Committee (MSAC).
Immunotherapies and CAR T-cell therapy are a new frontier in cancer treatment that allows the body’s own immune system to fight cancer.
Kymriah is a novel therapy that is a one-time treatment which is showing immense promise and could offer a cure for some patients.
It involves the patients T cells being extracted from the body, genetically reengineered and programmed to recognise and destroy cancer cell and then reimplanted into the body.
Treatment with Kymriah gives patients with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia who have not responded to other treatments a new chance at achieving remission.
Kymriah is a highly specialised treatment that will be delivered to patients in specialised tertiary public hospitals.
As this treatment will be provided exclusively in public hospitals it will be funded through the National Health Reform Agreement.
Patients and their families will no longer need to travel overseas for this treatment which would cost more than $500,000.
This treatment will revolutionise the way we treat cancer in Australia and save lives.
This announcement follows the Government’s announcement last month of an $80 million investment from the Morrsion Government and $25 million from Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre to create Australia’s first Centre of Excellence in Cellular Immunotherapy.
This new national centre will revolutionise cancer treatment in Australian and the Asia Pacific region and provide the capability and capacity for Australia to become a global leader in this crucial medical frontier.
I am also is pleased to announce that following our $80 million investment the pharmaceutical company Novartis has announced that it is finalising agreements to base a new cell and gene manufacturing process at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, further strengthening Australia as a world leader in cancer care.
It means that Australia will become one of the few countries in the world to manufacture this CAR-T. It demonstrates the medical and advanced manufacturing capabilities that we have here.
Our commitment to ensuring that Australians can access affordable treatments, when they need them, remains rock solid.
The Coalition Government’s strong economic management ensures we continue to invest record amounts of funding into essential health services including cancer treatments, Medicare, mental health, life-saving medicines, and hospitals.