The UCP government has announced a new provincial cancer therapy program.

Albertans with specific types of leukemia and lymphoma will soon have access in Calgary and Edmonton to a $15-million program, commonly known as CAR T-cell therapy.

Health Minister Tyler Shandro says CAR T-cell therapy trials have demonstrated durable remissions and potential cures in about 50% of adults and 80% of children and young adults. “We want to provide Albertans with the same recovery opportunities, and that’s why we’re establishing a made-in-Alberta program. Our government is pleased to be partnering with the Alberta Cancer Foundation to make this happen.”

The province is partnering with the Alberta Cancer Foundation to make this all happen.

The funding will be used to conduct a clinical trial – with CAR T-cells manufactured within Alberta – at three sites: the Cross Cancer Institute, the Tom Baker Cancer Clinic and Alberta Children’s Hospital.

This therapy genetically reprograms a patient’s immune cells to attack the cancer cells in their body. It’s usually provided to patients when conventional cancer treatments are ineffective.

The funding will also pay for nursing staff, training and education for health care workers, patient education and psychosocial support, lab and diagnostic imaging, and follow-up care.