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Good news for getting CAR-T cell therapies out to more patients (as reported in Reuters today)

HEALTH NEWS

FEBRUARY 15, 2019 / 7:20 AM 

(Reuters) - The U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on Friday proposed Medicare coverage of approved CAR-T cell therapies that use the patient’s immune system to fight cancer. 

The proposal would require Medicare to cover the therapy nationwide when it is offered in a CMS-approved registry or clinical study, in which patients are monitored for at least two years post-treatment, CMS said. 

The evidence from these studies and registries would help the agency identify the patients that benefit from CAR-T cell therapies. 

“Today’s proposed coverage decision would improve access to this therapy while deepening CMS’s understanding of how patients in Medicare respond to it,” CMS Administrator Seema Verma said in a statement. 

Chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy, known as CAR-T, harnesses the body’s own immune cells to recognize and attack malignant cells. 

Approved CAR-T therapies include Novartis AG’s Kmyriah treatment for leukemia and Gilead Sciences Inc’s Yescarta.

Reporting by Manas Mishra in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur