Under the name DARE-NL, a new partnership has been launched in the Netherlands that will focus entirely on the development of cell and gene therapy. Almost every Dutch cancer research institute has joined DARE-NL. KWF has committed €5.3 million to use this initiative to improve the availability of promising cell and gene therapies so that more patients can benefit from new, potentially life-saving therapies.
living body cells
Cell therapy is a treatment in which the body’s living cells undergo a process in the laboratory that makes them better able to detect and destroy cancer cells. These treated cells are then returned to the patient’s body. The cells can come from the patient himself, but donor cells can also be used. When the DNA of immune cells is also modified, this is referred to as gene therapy.
Amazing results have been achieved in recent years with cell and gene therapy as patients remain disease free for a long time and sometimes permanently. These are often patients for whom other treatments have not worked. Cell and gene therapy give them a new perspective.
However, things are not going quite smoothly with the assimilation of cell and gene therapy in our country. Few treatments have been approved so far, and many cell and genetic therapies never reach the patient. The KWF has made an inventory of bottlenecks in the report “Cell and Gene Therapy for Clinical Oncology Practice”.
- scientific uncertainties in the field of research methodology, safety, efficacy and production;
- fragmentation of knowledge and experience among universities, research institutes, governments and others;
- limited availability and high cost of raw materials;
- lack of trained specialized personnel;
- complex legislation and regulations that lag behind medical and technical developments;
- Insufficient experience in the cell and gene therapy registration process;
- Legal challenges due to limited knowledge of property rights;
- Limited view of cost rates and reimbursement options by health insurance companies.
The DARE-NL project team consists of renowned researchers from all eight university medical centers, the Princess Maxima Center for Pediatric Oncology, Antoni van Leeuwenhoek, Sanquin Research and the Utrecht Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences of Utrecht University. In the coming years, DARE-NL wants to commit to more research, improved regulations and improvements in the production of cell and gene therapy with the aim of providing a better provision for cancer patients in the Netherlands.
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