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Penn Medicine, CHOP to Support CAR T-Cell Research, Treatment in Costa Rica

NEW YORK – Penn Medicine and Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) said on Monday that they have partnered with Costa Rica's social security program, Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social, or CCSS, to support CAR T-cell therapy research in Costa Rica.

Memoranda of understanding signed by the three groups call for them to consider bringing adult and pediatric patients from Costa Rica to Penn or CHOP to collect their immune cells and manufacture them into CAR T-cell therapies at Penn. After this, the cell therapies would be shipped to Costa Rica so that patients could receive the treatment as part of a Costa Rica-based clinical trial protocol.

Additionally, the partners plan to explore educational and training opportunities whereby Penn and CHOP experts would work with Costa Rican providers to develop protocols for CAR T-cell clinical trials.

"Given the importance of equity and access, our work with Costa Rica may provide a template for further expanding the safe use of CAR T globally," Stephan Grupp, section chief of CHOP's Cellular Therapy and Transplant Section and director of CHOP's Susan S. and Stephen P. Kelly Center for Cancer Immunotherapy, said in a statement. "Costa Rica has an outstanding universal health system with a strong commitment to accessible medical care, and we look forward to continuing this collaboration."