Press review

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Rome hospital uses blood purification technology to treat cytokine release syndrome in CAR-T patient

MILAN, 21 Feb (APM) - Rome's Bambino Gesù Hospital has successfully tested blood purification technology to treat cytokine release syndrome in a CAR-T therapy patient, according to Tuesday's Il Messaggero.
The paper said it is the first clinical case in the world of a leukaemia patient having apheretic blood purification therapy for this condition. The companies providing the technology, Aferetica and its U.S partner CytoSorbents Corporation, announced the successful trial.
According to Il Messaggero, 25% of adult and paediatric patients who have CAR-T therapy develop CRS which can result in an uncontrolled and a potentially lethal inflammatory response.
Until now, the syndrome has been treated with drugs but these do not always manage to control the inflammatory state and result in suppression of the immune system which increases the risk of serious infection in the patient, the paper explained.
A 14-year-old boy suffering from a severe form of acute leukaemia developed CRS after having CAR-T therapy. He had progressive respiratory failure and severe acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).
A specialist team from the Bambino Gesù Hospital used the blood purification technology with continuous renal replacement therapy and tocilizumab to treat him. The patient was saved and discharged from intensive care after 15 days, Il Messaggero said.
Il Sole 24 Ore, which also covered the story on Tuesday, said the hospital team's study was published in the Critical Care Explorations journal.

Italy's animal testing law criticised by scientists as breaching EU rules

Italy's animal testing legislation breaches European rules and hinders many forms of research which would provide benefits for public health, according to a group of scientists writing in Wednesday's Il Sole 24 Ore.
EU rules require all countries to adopt uniform conditions for authorisation of experimental research on animals. But Italy has its own legislation which is much more restrictive.
The scientists included veteran pharmacologist Silvio Garattini and others from Milan's Istituto Mario Negri. They said that just one experiment on a mouse requires a complex protocol and authorisation from various regulatory bodies before it can go ahead in Italy. Testing on primates has also to be cleared by the health ministry advisory body CSS.
The scientists warned it makes it impossible to work with groups from other countries. This is costly and takes up a lot of time. They also noted that human clinical trials only require approval from an ethics committee.

Access to AbbVie's Venclyxto + rituximab for CLL welcomed in Campania

Access to AbbVie's Venclyxto (venetoclax) + rituximab in the second-line treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) has been welcomed in Campania, Il Mattino reported on Wednesday.
Hundreds of people in the region will now avoid having to have chemotherapy, the paper said. Fabrizio Pane, director of the haematology and bone transplantation unit of Naples polyclinic highlighted the benefits.
"The combination of venetoclax and rituximab can increase the number of complete remissions in patients who have not responded to previous therapies. In addition, the new therapy can be prescribed for a limited duration and not for life: that means, after 24 months, patients will be able to stop taking the drug," he was quoted as saying.
Pani said the combination therapy will extend life, have a positive impact on quality of life of patients and help the region to save money because it does not have to provide chemotherapy.

Europe,China launch personalised medicine research project

Europe and China have started a personalised medicine research partnership, Il Sole 24 Ore reported on Monday.
'IC2PerMed - Integrating China in the International Consortium for Personalised Medicine' is a programme financed by Europe's Horizon2020
programme within the "Actions in support of the International Consortium for Personalised Medicine".
The first meeting was held on Monday at Rome's Catholic University and continued for three days. The university already has long-standing research relationship with China, the paper said. The four-year project will promote and define common research and development approaches, standards and priorities between Europe and China in the field of personalised medicine.
Walter Ricciardi, a member of the World Health Organization's executive board and professor of hygiene and public health at the Catholic University, will be the scientific coordinator of the project.

Joint effort by Italy's medical devices companies urged for Coronavirus

The head of the medical devices division in Confindustria, the Italian confederation of industry, has called for a joint effort to deal with issues related to the Coronavirus, Il Sole 24 Ore reported on Monday.
Massimiliano Boggetti said that companies should combine their production capacity to meet demands being made by the Coronavirus. This is required both for difficulties in obtaining raw materials and semi-finished goods as well as satisfying increasing demand for surgical masks, gloves and other medical devices.
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