MONTREAL, Nov. 23, 2020 /CNW Telbec/ - The Hematology-Oncology and Cellular Therapy University Institute (HOCTUI) of Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital, part of Centre intégré universitaire de santé et de services sociaux de l'Est-de-l'Île-de-Montréal, today announced a historic step forward in cancer treatment in Quebec and Canada. Indeed, a new experimental T cell immunotherapy is being investigated for the treatment of metastatic synovial sarcoma, a rare and incurable cancer affecting mainly young adults. It is the first time that genetically modified autologous TCR T cells collected from a patient who was chemotherapy-naive are administered in the first line setting.

This experimental and innovative approach consists of reprogramming the immune cells of a patient in order to fight said cancer specifically. Cellular therapy represents one of the few potential advances over the past fifty years against this rare type of cancer, which accounts for less than 1% of all cancer cases in adults. This type of personalized medicine, may offer a glimmer of hope for patients and their families, given that chemotherapy, which is often very toxic, gives little results.

This clinical study was conducted by the HOCTUI of Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital, under the direction of Dr. Jonathan Noujaim, hematologist-oncologist and assistant clinical professor at Faculty of Medecine of Université de Montréal, and sponsored by the pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline.

"This great milestone in Quebec positions the HOCTUI of Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital, as a leader in the development of research in cellular therapy. We believe that this innovative therapy could represent an advancement in the treatment of patients with cancer," declared Mr. Sylvain Lemieux, Chair and Director-General of Montreal Island East´s CIUSSS.

According to Denis-Claude Roy, HOCTUI´s Director, who has devoted his career to the development and deployment of hematology-oncology and cellular therapy treatments, "this new innovative approach opens the door to developing treatments for other cancers. Thanks to the hard work and the expertise of our clinical and research teams, the leading expertise of the HOCTUI is recognized both in Canada and internationally."

About the Institut universitaire d'hémato-oncologie et de thérapie cellulaire (IUHOTC)
The Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont is a designated university institute in hemato-oncology and cell therapy thanks to its cutting-edge expertise and leadership. The IUHOTC optimizes the development and advancement of cell therapies, including immunocellular therapy. It also supports the development of this recognized expertise both in Canada and around the world in specialized patient care, higher education, clinical research, basic research, as well as health technology and health care assessment.

About the CIUSSS de l'Est-de-l'Île-de-Montréal
The Centre intégré universitaire de santé et de services sociaux de l'Est-de-l'Île-de-Montréal (CIUSSS-EMTL) has 26 facilities and serves a population of over 500,000 Montrealers. Affiliated with Université de Montréal, it offers a full range of first-line health and social services; residential services; general, specialized, and subspecialized hospital care; and mental health care.

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Last update: March 9, 2021