The United Arab Emirates is the pioneer in revolutionizing healthcare and medical treatments across the region and world. Capital Abu Dhabi’s ADSCC (Abu Dhabi Stem Cell Centre) is initiating one of its kind revolutionary experiment in the region that will focus on the safety and efficacy of using CAR T-cell treatment module for hematologic or blood cancers such as lymphoma, myeloma, and certain types of leukemia.
ADSCC – The pioneer in revolutionizing healthcare in UAE
ADSCC was founded in Abu Dhabi in 2019. The prime objective of this center was to conduct radical research on stem cells, thereby bringing the most innovative and advanced treatments to the country. At each step, ADSCC has excelled and proved to deliver the highest standards of treatment quality, patient experience, and follow-up.
The center primarily focuses on harvesting, processing, and storing cell products for clinical purposes in regenerative medicine as well as hematopoietic transplantation.
ADSCC is brought to the forefront of the country’s healthcare and medical research sector by its exceptional team of internationally qualified and recognized doctors working in close coordination with the researchers. ADSCC offers specialties including immunology, hematology, clinical stem cell therapy, molecular biology, orthopedics, and urology, amongst others.
What is CAR T-cell therapy?
CAR T-cell therapy presents an innovative approach that strengthens the body’s immune system to attack certain forms of cancer. In this therapy protocol, a small amount of the patient’s own T-cells (white blood cells that are a crucial component of the immune system that has the capacity to target and destroy abnormal cells including cancer cells) are segregated and collected from the blood. These cells are then re-engineered in the laboratory to allow them to now carry special structures on their surface, called Chimeric Antigen Receptors (CARs). When re-injected into the body, these CAR T-cells multiply rapidly and intensify the ability of T-cells to target cancerous cells and destroy them.
This new technology using CAR T-cells is the latest globally recognized immunotherapy technology.
Dr. Fatima Al Kaabi, Director of the Bone Marrow Transplant Program in Abu Dhabi and the principal investigator in the immune cell experiment, said taking pride in UAE’s achievement of being first in the region to initiate the experiment, “We are proud to be the first in the country and the region to produce and conduct this new and innovative type of treatment and research locally to better understand its effects on cancer cells. Local research to ensure that the people of the country and the rest of the world receive the best possible health care.”
The CAR T-cell therapy experiment is in collaboration with biomedical research company Miltini Biotech. The CAR T-cell therapy experiment will include the use of “apheresis”, a simple process that includes donating blood to enable separation of its components for analysis and treatment.
Dr. Yendre Ventura, Immunologist, Director General of the Abu Dhabi Stem Cell Center, and Principal Investigator of the Clinical Trial of CAR T-cell Immunotherapy, said, “The treatment of cancer remains one of the most complex and challenging medical pathways in the world, which underscores the need of an increasing number of locally developed research and therapeutic innovations. It will be a long and arduous process understanding the impact of T immune cells with receptors targeting cancer cells on patients, but at the same time it will pave the way for a new and distinguished chapter in the history of the United Arab Emirates, where these experiences will consolidate its distinguished position globally in the field of medical innovation and research and development.”
“Our world-leading physicians and researchers, in collaboration with our partners at Miltini Biotic, are paving the way for advanced treatments for a healthier society while strengthening Abu Dhabi’s position as a global hub for healthcare, innovation, and research,” he added.
Viral vectors form the crucial element used by molecular biologists for genetic modification of immune cells. Recently, the viral vectors have been successfully used for the production of Covid-19 vaccines that contain a version of the virus, the ‘vector’.
Dr. Robert Handgrittinger, Head of Adoptive Cell Transfer and Head of Pediatric Services at the Abu Dhabi Bone Marrow Transplant Program, said, “It is our job to make sure that the immune cells that we modify effectively target the cancer cells in each patient so that we can help direct them. On the right track to lying dormant and this is where the role of viral vectors and the partnership with Miltini Biotech comes into play. Ultimately, building a robust CAR T-cell immune cell therapy program in Abu Dhabi.”