“A few years ago, it was like science fiction,” said Dr. Polina Stepensky. But genetically engineering T cells to help treat an incurable cancer is now a reality.
This is thanks to the trailblazing Dr. Stepensky, head of the Hadassah Medical Organization’s Department of Bone Marrow Transplantation and Cancer Immunotherapy for Adults and Children, who set out to fulfill an unmet need.
The idea of CAR T-cell therapy, creating genetically modified T cells (white blood cells of the immune system) that are personalized to attack cancer for individual patients, is not new. In fact, it was developed in the 1980s — in Israel. But it hadn’t been implemented for multiple myeloma, a blood cancer found in bone marrow.
On the newest episode of the Hadassah On Call podcast, Dr. Stepensky shares how she developed Israel’s first CAR T treatment for multiple myeloma — and has already treated more than 70 patients.
Dr. Stepensky’s name may sound familiar. A superstar at Hadassah, she was a guest on Hadassah On Call in 2020, during which she discussed saving the lives of children suffering from a rare, fatal genetic disease. Listen to that episode here.