The EATRIS members Finnish Red Cross Blood Service and University of Helsinki have entered into a cooperation agreement with HUS – The Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa-, to promote experimental treatments and clinical trials using cell therapy products as part of the treatment of patients. The Blood Service has invested in new cell therapies since 2009. One result of this work is a mesenchymal stem cell product aimed at treating severe graft-versus-host disease after stem cell transplant. The product has been administered to patients in Helsinki and Turku University Hospitals. The goal of the newly formed collaboration is to create the conditions for the introduction of the next, development-stage cell therapy products in HUS.
Doctors prescribe experimental treatments to patients whose prognosis is otherwise poor and when no other treatments are available. Promising results have for instance been reported globally from cell therapies, where the patient’s own cells of the immune system are modified in laboratory conditions and used in the treatment of hematological malignancies (so called CAR T technology).
– The hope is that, in the future, the new cell therapies will offer treatment opportunities for diseases that previously have been considered incurable, explains Johanna Mattson, director of the Cancer Centre at HUS.