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Medicare to Cover Breakthrough Cancer Gene Therapy

Aug. 8, 2019 — A breakthrough gene therapy will be covered for certain types of lymphoma and leukemia, Medicare says.

The therapy, called CAR-T, boosts a patient’s own immune cells to fight cancer and can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, the Associated Press reported.

Studies have shown that CAR-T is effective against certain types of cancers, but can cause severe side effects. The use of the gene therapy to treat certain types of leukemia and lymphoma is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Medicare considered the matter for months before it announced its decision on Wednesday. The agency’s policies on coverage can influence private insurance, the AP reported.

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