Saturday, September 17, 2016

Researchers hopeful for improved T cell therapy for non-Hodgkin lymphoma

Dr. Stan Riddell, is a senior researcher for the trial –
Fred Hutch file photo
CANCER DIGEST – Sept. 17, 2016 – In an early clinical trial designed to determine the optimal safe dose, researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, WA have seen promising results for an anti-cancer immune cell engineered from the patient’s own immune system. 

The early results of the engineered T cell, called JCAR014  were from what is called a dose-finding trial in patients with non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.
The data show that following a round of chemotherapy aimed at creating a more favorable immune system environment for the engineered cell increased the overall response rate and complete response rate, which measure the reduction of cancer in the patient.

JCAR014, dubbed CAR T cell is an immune system cell engineered to boost the patient’s own immune response to cancer by recruiting two other naturally occurring immune system cells to join forces to kill cancer cells that produce a specific marker on their cell surfaces. The idea is to increase the killing of cancer cells while minimizing toxic side effects.

The early results showed the effects of three different doses of the combination chemotherapy and JCAR014 in 32 patients with non-Hodgkin lymphoma. In the 18 patients who were evaluated for effectiveness, data showed that 50 percent of patients who received the intermediate dose of chemotherapy agents fludarabine and cyclophosphamide (Cy/Flu) followed by CAR T cell infusion achieved an overall response rate of 82 percent, meaning the cancer was measurably reduced in nine of 11 patients, and in seven of the 11 (64%) the response was a complete eradication of the cancer. Two of 11 patients, experienced toxic side effects.

It is too early to tell if that response rate will last, or extend to other patients in a larger trial, but it improves on the early response rates of an earlier trial using a different chemotherapy regimen. 

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