In 2016, Sheba performed revolutionary CAR-T therapy for the first time. Since then, the hospital has become a world-recognized center for cutting-edge CAR-T cell cancer treatment. A combination of professional dedication and innovative medical care has positioned the Tel Hashomer medical center as a leader in the field. Most cases in Israel are referred to Sheba, and many patients travel from Europe for this therapy. Recently, a ceremony marking 100 CAR-T patients was held.
CAR-T cell therapy is an individualized, highly specialized treatment for patients with various types of cancer. The cost of the CAR T-Cell therapy varies from country to country, but receiving therapy in Israel is less expensive than in the United States. Based on immune cell engineering, the goal of CAR-T is to provide a patient’s immune system with the ability to fight their body’s cancer and destroy the tumor. Where other cancer treatments have failed, CAR-T cell therapy has succeeded in putting some cancers into remission. Currently, CAR-T is given to lymphoma and leukemia patients.
Read more: CAR-T Therapy in Israel
At present, Sheba is the only center in Israel that has the state-of-the-art facilities for preparing and modifying the CAR-T cells. The cells are engineered in Sheba’s Oncology Training Laboratories before being infused into the patient’s bloodstream. The specially modified cells then flow through the blood until reaching the cancerous tumor they are programmed to attack.
The recent ceremony was honored by the presence of the Lemelbaum family, esteemed donors who funded the establishment of the Ella Institute and Sheba’s advanced CAR-T laboratories over a decade ago. Also in attendance were Prof. Gidi Gross, Israeli immunologist; Tova Waks, scientific advisor and CAR-T researcher; and Prof. Zeev Rothstein, former director of Sheba Medical Center when the project began four years ago.
Various doctors and scientists who have been involved in revolutionary CAR-T therapy at Sheba shared their thoughts:
“This is an exciting day – when we feature 100 patients who received CAR-T treatment. The vision and dream came to fruition thanks to the sacred work of the Hemato-Oncology Division and the Ella Institute. Sheba is unique for its supreme professionalism, found in the hearts and minds of all members of the medical and laboratory staff. We will continue to lead in the field and treat as many patients as possible with the revolutionary CAR-T therapy,” said Prof. Amos Toren, Director of the Pediatric Oncology Department.
Sheba is excited to announce that it now offers the innovative CAR T-cell therapy for patients with Multiple Myeloma and is the first medical center in the world to pioneer its application for Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML) with 8:21 translocation and CD19 expression as part of a clinical study.
We also offer a full diagnostic procedure to determine whether this treatment is a suitable option for a patient.
“CAR-T therapy is the most significant development in hematology in recent years for patients who had no other chance. Sheba is in first place in Europe, patients travel from all over the world to receive treatment at our hospital,” said Prof. Arnon Nagler, Director of Hematology.
“This is clear proof of the exceptional innovations and breakthrough developments that originate from Israeli culture, alongside high ethics and discipline. We have achieved the unbelievable! It’s all about brave people who worked together leading to incredible outcomes for patients who had no other chance,” said Prof. Dror Harz, Head of Research, Development and Academia, and Chairman of the Helsinki Commission.
“The [CAR-T] treatment proves innovation, on the one hand, and boundless humanity, on the other hand. It is a product of vision, of people who collaborate to actualize their dream of helping others. There is nothing more to say other than thank you,” said Prof Arnon Afek, Deputy Director of the medical center.
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“Today’s ceremony represents a transition from vision to courage – the creation of a world where CAR-T cell therapy becomes a standard part of the institutional care we offer to patients. This treatment is a connection between science and research, between laboratory capabilities and regulation, and most importantly – between all of the above and the patient. That’s our wonderful story – a tale of partnership and progress,” said Professor Yitzhak Kreiss, Director of Sheba Medical Center.