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FDA Panel Recommends Approval Of Novel 'Gene Therapy' For Leukemia10:57Download

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In this July 9, 2015, photo, provided by Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp., human T cells belonging to cancer patients arrive at Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp.'s Morris Plains, N.J., facility. This laboratory is where the T cells of cancer patients are processed and turned into super cells as part of a new gene therapy-based cancer treatment Novartis is a part of. (Brent Stirton/Courtesy of Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp. via AP)MoreCloseclosemore
In this July 9, 2015, photo, provided by Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp., human T cells belonging to cancer patients arrive at Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp.'s Morris Plains, N.J., facility. This laboratory is where the T cells of cancer patients are processed and turned into super cells as part of a new gene therapy-based cancer treatment Novartis is a part of. (Brent Stirton/Courtesy of Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp. via AP)

A Food and Drug Administration panel has recommended approval of a novel cancer treatment that uses a disabled form of HIV to reprogram the body's own white blood cells. The treatment, known as CTL019, was developed by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and licensed to the drug company Novartis, which wants to use it to treat a rare form of leukemia affecting children and young adults under the age of 25.

Here & Now's Robin Young talks to Dr. Stephan Grupp, director of the cancer immunotherapy program at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Dr. Grupp led Novartis’ global trial of the treatment.

Robin also speaks with Tom Whitehead and his daughter Emily Whitehead, who was the first child ever given this treatment as a 6-year-old in 2012.

This segment aired on July 14, 2017.

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