A research team lead by Professor Aisling McMahon (Maynooth University), joined by Alanna Kells (Maynooth University) and Sinéad Masterson (Maynooth University) has published a report entitled: “Access and Provision of CAR-T Therapies in Ireland: The Current & Future Landscape, Opportunities, and Challenges”. This report was published as part of an Irish Research Council funded New Foundations project, conducted in conjunction with civil society partner, Breakthrough Cancer Research and Dr Frances Drummond (Research Manager, Breakthrough Cancer Research).

CAR-T therapies are a type of cellular immunotherapy which has shown significant potential for treating specific types of blood cancers, such as lymphoma, leukaemia and myeloma. The first CAR-T therapy was approved for use in Europe in 2018, and there are currently six main types of CAR-T therapies approved for use in Europe. CAR-T therapies were first provided in Ireland for adult patients in St James Hospital, Dublin in 2021 and in 2022 for paediatric patients in Children’s Health Ireland, Crumlin. Such therapies can be transformative for patients leading to remission in some cases for patients who were previously considered to be terminally ill. However, CAR-T therapies can also pose risks of side effects which must be carefully managed.

Moreover, although currently such therapies are used primarily for specific types of blood cancers, emerging research suggests these therapies may offer potential to treat other cancers including some solid tumors in certain contexts. However, there are a range of challenges with providing access to such therapies currently, including logistical and manufacturing challenges, and challenges posed by the high costs in providing access to such therapies within public health systems.

This report examines the current landscape for access and provision of such therapies in Ireland and provides an overview of some of key challenges and opportunities presented by CAR-T therapies for patients in Ireland. It outlines ten main policy recommendations, which aim to promote a deeper multi-disciplinary conversation around the provision of CAR-T therapies in Ireland. The report calls for a national strategy to develop more sustainable and affordable pathways for the provision and development of CAR-T therapies in Ireland in future.

Read the full report by following the link below.

External Links

  • "Access and Provision of CAR-T Therapies in Ireland for Cancer Care: The Current & Future Landscape, Opportunities and Challenges: Legal, Ethical and Broader Policy Considerations" https://mural.maynoothuniversity.ie/18085/