By Jennifer Ahlstrom | Posted - Oct 7th, 2016

 

 

 

 

CAR T Cells Keep Rolling Closer to the Clinic

Synopsis from a recent article in Blood by Dr. Hermann Einsele and Dr. Michael Hudecek The global race to prove that CAR T cells will work in blood cancers other than leukemia and lymphoma is on! Because multiple myeloma is an incurable cancer, researcher are anxious to bring the success from these other blood cancers to multiple myeloma, bringing hope and promise to patients. Three years ago, Carpenter, et al showed that myeloma had a connection with a protein called BCMA in preclinical models. This group has now translated their work to the clinic. In a recent issue of Blood, Dr. Ali and colleagues showed the first safety and impact data using CAR T cells targeting BCMA in myeloma.

Dosing and safety are the key elements to be watched in Phase I clinical trials. In this study, four dose levels were studied. Responses were seen at the two highest dose levels with 2 very good partial responses (VGPR) and one complete response (CR) lasting 17 weeks. Although the trial run was successful, there is clearly significant room for improvement. Researchers know that BCMA is involved in the development of myeloma and recently, it has become an immunotherapy target because it is uniformly expressed on myeloma cells while being absent on normal solid tissue. It is only occasionally found on some normal plasma cells, memory B cells and plasmacytoid dendritic cells. BCMA-targeting treatments are now being aggressively developed in monoclonal antibodies (mAbs), bispecific antibodies, antibody-drug conjugates and CAR T cells. The current BCMA Car T cell clinical trial provides a first proof of concept and benchmark for future trials. Compared to the CAR T Cells tested targeting CD19 in lymphoma, the results thus far have not been as powerful and as durable when targeting BCMA in myeloma. The lower presence of BCMA on the myeloma cells could be a potential factor. Researchers are aware that in the BCMA-CAR trials, patients can experience concerning cytokine release syndrome when the cancerous cells die. Researchers are also looking at how to extend the duration of the CARs' effectiveness by testing out new CAR designs, giving attention to associated killer and helper T cells in the final product, and optimizing the preparatory regimen before the CAR T cells are administered. Researchers are pushing hard towards long-term disease control and eventually a cure. The pipeline is now fully loaded with new CARs going after a variety of targets including CD38, CD44v6,9,10, SLAMF7 and BCMA. CAR T cells have made their formal debut in multiple myeloma and will continue to roll their way into the clinic. To find all T Cell Therapy clinical trials, click here: T Cell Myeloma Clinical Trials   cant-wait-post-imageThe Myeloma Crowd Research Initiative is funding this critical and game-changing CAR T cell research by Drs. Einsele and Hudecek. We need your help to bring this treatment to the clinic and all proceeds are donated to the two specific MCRI research projects. To support our effort to bring a CAR T Cell treatment targeting CS1 and BCMA, click here: Donate to the Myeloma Crowd Research Initiative

 
Jennifer Ahlstrom
About the Author

Jennifer Ahlstrom - Jenny A - Myeloma survivor, patient advocate, wife, mom of 6. Believer that patients can help accelerate a cure by weighing in and participating in clinical trials. Founder of Myeloma Crowd, Myeloma Crowd Radio, HealthTree and the CrowdCare Foundation.

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