For a cancer to be a candidate for CAR-T cell therapy, it must have certain proteins (also called antigens) on its surface. These antigens are what the “CAR” (Chimeric Antigen Receptor) added to the patients’ own white blood “T” cells can attack.
Most pathologists can organise tests on stored biopsy or surgical samples of cancer, to see which antigens are on the cancer, that could be targets for CAR-T therapy.
ConnectGene can arrange to send a list of the relevant antigens that pathologists should test for on the cancer. Most health systems will charge fees for these tests, which usually can be completed within a couple of weeks.
If the pathologist who reported on the cancer initially is unable to do tests for potential CAR-T cell antigens, ConnectGene can arrange for a sample of cancer to be tested in another lab for these antigens. Again, this process is usually complete in a few weeks.
Once antigens on the cancer are known, ConnectGene can direct patients to hospitals where trials or access schemes for CAR-T therapy against the antigens are underway. This requires consultation with ConnectGene, to ensure patients have the best options for the newest CAR-T cell therapy, with good supportive care for any side effects.
ConnectGene will work with the patient and the hospital to determine what costs are likely to be. Potential costs for CAR-T cell therapy vary widely round the world. Centres in the USA usually charge the highest costs for CAR-T therapy and any associated supportive care that is necessary. Good centres in China often charge prices that are less than 10% of the costs in the USA, but with very good results.
ConnectGene is committed to making CAR-T cell therapy affordable and available.
ConnectGene will also help monitor the effectiveness and safety of CAR-T cell therapy, and arrange follow-up for the patient (back in their home city) after treatment. By following up patients after CAR-T cell therapy, ConnectGene can inform the next cohort of cancer patients going through this novel treatment what outcomes are likely.