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Gina’s remission: Her treatment success is ‘game changer’ for cancer in Australia

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A leading haematologist at Peter MacCallum says the results of Gina Argiro’s CAR-T therapy are a “game changer” for cancer treatment in Australia.

“What we’ve found is that patients who had no effective treatment options, can now have an active treatment option,” Dr Dickinson said.

“A significant proportion of those who have CAR-T treatment are being placed into a complete remission that appears to be durable.

“It looks to be a really viable option.”

Mildura mum, Gina Argiro, was fighting a very rare type of cancer and was told last December her last hope was CAR-T treatment, which is not available in Australia.

Gina needed $1 million to travel to the United States for treatment that would give her a 50-50 chance of survival.

Gina got to the US for CAR-T therapy, thanks to generous donations and the effort of Health Minister Greg Hunt, who pushed through a government medical grant.

Earlier this month, Gina and her husband Peter shared with Neil the fantastic news – she was cancer free after just 30 days.

Dr Dickinson told Neil Mitchell this treatment is an important next step to dealing with the cancer burden in the community.

“It’s like a designer immune system,” says Dr Dickinson.

“We take a donation of cells from the patient and then train those cells to fight off the cancer.

“These are then given back to the patient as a single infusion – the cells then see their target, multiply and attack the cancer.”

In recent weeks the government has approved funding for CAR-T therapy for patients under the age of 25 with acute leukemia.

“This is a breakthrough moment for us in Australia,” Mr Dickinson said.

“It’s a really important first step to making this therapy available for more patients.

“This as a platform can target cancer beyond what we are seeing now, it’s really exciting.”

Click PLAY to find out more from Dr Dickinson on CAR-T therapy.