Taking Cancer On

Syllabus: GS III

Subject: Science & Technology

Topic: Medical science and Health

Issue: Cancer Treatment, CAR T-Cell Therapy.

Context: For the first time, a patient in India become free of cancer cells after being treated with CAR T-cell therapy.

Cancer Treatment in India:

  • Cancer is a disease in which some of the body’s cells grow uncontrollably and spread to other parts of the body.
  • In India, about 8 lakh people every year are dying because of cancer.
  • Traditionally cancer treatments included chemotherapy, radiation and surgery.

CAR T-cell therapy (chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy):

  • This therapy is customized for each patent.
  • It involves extracting T cells (a type of immune system cell) from the patient and growing them in the laboratory.
    • The T cells are armed against cancer via gene editing and infused back into the patient’s body.


  • Easier for patients, when compared with chemotherapy and radiation etc.
  • effective against relapse of cancer cells.
  • Fortification of patient with living drug (modified T cell) to constantly fight cancer cells.


It is costly for a large section of population in India.

Need more research and development in the field.

Prelims Connect:

Genome editing: is a group of technologies using which the DNA of organisms (plants, bacteria, and animals etc.) is changed.

CRISPR-Cas9, TALE nucleases, and zinc-finger nucleases are some of Gene Editing technologies.

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