China’s immune-oncology sector is not only catching up to the West (U.S. & Europe) but perhaps even surpassing it when it comes to cranking out powerful immunotherapy faster at more economical prices. This offers more access to those battling deadly cancers. Gracell Biotechnology Ltd. represents a case in point—the startup has developed a CAR-T therapy that saved a working-class teenage boy’s life. The Universal CAR-T movement is in full swing in China.
The Healing of Zhang Haitao
A teen from a working class family in the rural, southwest Sichuan province, dreamed of a specialized basketball school. A pain in his right arm changed his life—it led the teen down a path familiar to most cancer patients—many hospital visits, tests and multiple chemotherapy rounds.
Ultimately, his doctor suggested an experimental gene therapy offered in clinical trials by a Chinese startup known as Gracell biotechnology Ltd. Zhang spent a few weeks in the hospital where the research team removed white blood cells from his body, genetically engineered them and infused them back into his body. A month later, Zhang’s bone marrow revealed his body was clear of cancer. He visited the Chinese ...
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