Tumors remain one of the deadliest diseases in the world, accounting for around one in six deaths globally in 2020. While scientists may not have found a cure for life-threatening tumors despite decades of research, there are a variety of treatments that can reduce and even eliminate tumors. However, people who live in rural areas have limited access to cancer treatments that could save their lives, highlighting a startling inequality in access to lifesaving cancer treatments.
For starters, some cancer patients have had their tumors completely eradicated after undergoing Chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CAR T-cell) therapy. However, patients who reside far away from major cities where most transplant centers are located have limited access to this and other critical treatments. CAR T-cell therapy is only offered in large transplant hospitals. This means that patients who could benefit from this therapy but don’t live in or close to major cities either have to migrate or miss out on the treatment.
For example, Suzanne BeHanna had been forced to migrate 750 miles from her home in rural New Mexico to receive treatment for lymphoma at the Houston-based University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. By fall 2019, BeHanna was living in a trailer park in Houston and sick from two unsuccessful rounds of chemotherapy. The 62-year-old could have benefited from Car T-cell therapy if it was offered closer to her home, but at that point, she just wanted to go back home and spend her final days with her husband.
This revolutionary treatment involves extracting a patient’s T cells and genetically modifying them to add the chimeric antigen to essentially weaponize them against cancer cells before being infused back into the patient.
At the moment, only three companies are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to make CAR-T cells: Norvatis, Myers Squibb and Gilead Sciences. In addition, the treatment is only available in some 150 transplant centers across the country. Since the side effects of CAR T-cell treatment can be fatal, patients that are cleared for this treatment have to be close to one of the 150 transplant centers in the country so specialists can keep a close eye on them.
Roughly one-half of U.S. adults live at least a half hour from a transplant center, leading to severely limited access to treatment for cancer patients in rural areas that are far from such treatment centers. The search for better cancer treatments is an ongoing one, with companies such as CNS Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: CNSP) focused on developing superior treatments targeting oncology conditions affecting the brain.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to CNS Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: CNSP) are available in the company’s newsroom at https://ibn.fm/CNSP
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