‘We are so grateful’: Indian-origin teen first to get UK’s life-changing cancer treatment – ET HealthWorld



New Delhi: Yuvan Thakkar, a 16-year-old teenager of Indian origin teen became the first child in the UK to undergo CAR T therapy, also known as tisagenlecleucel (Kymriah).

“My life has changed so much since I received the CAR T therapy,” said Thakkar. He also thanked Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) in London for the “incredible” care he received.

“I remember I had to take so many trips to hospital and had long periods out of school… They have helped me recover to a state where I am able to enjoy so many things I love doing, such as playing snooker or pool, meeting friends and family, and going on wonderful holidays. It’s hard to imagine how things would have been if the treatment wasn’t available,” Thakkar added.

Thakkar, diagnosed with leukemia at the age of six, underwent treatment that modifies immune cells to target cancer cells, after relapsing despite prior chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant. His mother, Sapna, describes the treatment as a “second chance” at life, expressing gratitude for the medical teams and the NHS.

“It felt like our prayers were finally answered. We still feel so grateful for this chance that’s been given to us and not a single day passes by when we haven’t felt thankful for all the doctors and nurses that have helped us through this long and difficult journey,” said Sapna Thakkar.

This treatment was provided through the UK’s National Health Service’s Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF).

The CDF, established in 2016, expedites access to new cancer treatments approved by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), benefiting patients with various cancer types.

“Treating 100,000 cancer patients in England with innovative treatments through the Cancer Drugs Fund is a fantastic milestone for the health service to reach, and testament to the hard work of oncologists and their teams across the country,” said Professor Sir Stephen Powis, NHS national medical director.

  • Published On Mar 31, 2024 at 05:05 PM IST

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