An exciting, new treatment offered in Israel may help.
Multiple myeloma is a hematological malignancy that forms in a type of white blood cell called a plasma cell. Healthy plasma cells help you fight infections by making antibodies that recognize and attack germs. In multiple myeloma, cancerous plasma cells accumulate in the bone marrow and crowd out healthy blood cells. Rather than produce helpful antibodies, the cancer cells produce abnormal proteins that can cause complications. Multiple myeloma is relatively uncommon, and in the US, for example, only around 32,000 new cases are diagnosed yearly. Chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and other treatments can kill most of the myeloma cells in your body, but a few can still survive. The small number of cells that stick around after treatment are called minimal residual disease (MRD). These cells may eventually grow and divide, which leads to a relapse. Once relapse treatment is required, individual patient characteristics will influence the optimal treatment choice. However, standard treatments often fail to eradicate a relapsed disease, but cutting-edge CAR T-cell therapy, offered in Israel, provides hope to patients.
Reasons to Choose Israel for Multiple Myeloma Relapse Treatment
- Advanced Treatment: Medical institutions in Israel and the US often collaborate in advanced cancer research, developing new and effective treatments against the disease, yet Israel has fewer constraints than the US when it comes to adopting novel treatments. Israeli clinical trials still adhere to the highest standards of safety, but innovative treatments are generally made available to patients sooner than in the US.
- CAR T-cell Therapy: CAR T-cell therapy is an innovative immunotherapy that involves stimulating immune T-cells to attack cancer. A new and advanced treatment, CAR T-cell therapy, is available in Israel and relatively few other countries around the world.
- Quality of Care: Israeli physicians are exceptionally well-trained and often spend even more time on their medical education than American doctors. Also, you can be assured of high standards and strict safety regulations if you choose a hospital accredited by a trustworthy authority.
- Cost: In many countries, healthcare costs can be exorbitant. Without insurance, the price of cancer treatment can be crippling. Costs are much lower in Israel, averaging 30-80% less than in the US, for example. That said, you’re not trading affordability for quality, since Israeli specialists, medical institutions, equipment, and procedures are among the most advanced in the world.
CAR T-cell Therapy for Multiple Myeloma Relapse
Israel, and Sheba Medical center in particular, are world leaders in the implementation of CAR T-cell therapy. CAR T-cell therapy is an innovative procedure that makes use of your own immune system to seek and destroy cancerous cells. After some blood is taken from the patient, the T-cells, a type of immune cell, are separated from the rest of the blood in a special laboratory. The T-cells are then genetically engineered to produce chimeric antigen receptors (CARs). The engineered T-cells are then given some time to multiply in the laboratory and are later injected back into the patient. The CARs allow the T-cells to recognize, target and destroy cancer cells.
Unfortunately, as a novel advanced treatment, CAR T-cell is only available in a handful of medical institutions worldwide, and tends to be very expensive. At Sheba Medical Center, CAR T-cells are engineered in-house in a specialized laboratory, and as a result, the entire process, from lymphocyte collection to patient delivery, only takes about 10 days. In contrast, many other hospitals use commercial CARs, which must be engineered abroad and shipped, taking months to become available. This delay allows the patient’s disease to progress further, which can also reduce the effectiveness of the body’s response to the CARs. Furthermore, the shipping process compromises cell quality, as some cells die during the necessary freezing and thawing.
Where to Pursue Multiple Myeloma Relapse Treatment in Israel?
Having discovered a few of the many advantages of getting treated for multiple myeloma relapse in Israel, where exactly should you pursue it? Sheba Medical Center is an exceptional choice. As the largest hospital in Israel, and one of the 10 best hospitals in the world according to Newsweek magazine, Sheba is dedicated to providing patients with world-class medical care.
The advantages of receiving treatment at Sheba Medical Center include:
- Sheba’s 360-degree care approach to every patient, which means that Sheba’s professionals will assist you with arranging medical record reviews, travel, visas, accommodations, and language interpretation as needed.
- As a government institution, we have no hidden costs, and our fees are transparent. Although we offer advanced treatments that are available only in select medical institutions around the world, our prices are affordable.
- Sheba’s extensive experience with CAR T-cell therapy speaks louder than words. Under the expertise of Prof. Arnon Nagler, Director of the Hemato-Oncology Division, and a world-renowned specialist in the field, we have provided over 220 patients with CAR T-cell therapy, including 60 children.
- Sheba has full accreditation from the Joint Commission International (JCI), the premier international healthcare accrediting group.
- Sheba has both advanced treatment and laboratory facilities. At Sheba, patients receive every aspect of their treatment in a single facility.