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CAR T- Cell Therapy Could Be A Promising Treatment For Multiple Myeloma Cancer

First Posted: Jun 06, 2017 05:48 AM EDT
CAR T-Cell Therapy: What Myeloma Patients & Caregivers Need To Know
Myeloma patients could be cured through CAR T-Cell therapy based on the results of the recent clinical trial.
(Photo : International Myeloma Foundation/YouTube screenshot)

The results of a recent clinical trial indicate a potential cure for the multiple myeloma upon receiving a type of immunotherapy known as chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells. The clinical trial involved 35 people and about 94 percent (33 out of 35) responded to the said immunotherapy.

The study was presented at the 2017 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting on June 5, 2017. It was led by Wanhong Zhao, MD, Ph.D., an associate director of hematology at The Second Affiliated Hospital of Xi'an Jiaotong University, and other colleagues, according to Science Daily.

Dr. Zhao said that even though recent advances in chemotherapy have prolonged life expectancy in multiple myeloma, this cancer remains incurable. He further said that it seems that with this novel immunotherapy there may be a chance for cure in multiple myeloma. On the other hand, they need to follow the patients much longer to guarantee the treatment.

In the CAR T-cell therapy, the T cells are gathered and genetically reprogrammed in a lab. They are injected back into the patient. In reprogramming process, an artificially designed gene is inserted into the T-cell genome. This could aid the genetically reprogrammed cells to look for and destroy the cancer cells within the body.

In the study, the researchers gave three split doses of cells over a week to all 35 patients with relapsed or treatment-resistant multiple myeloma. The results showed a response rate of 100 percent and 33 patients had the complete response or very good partial response within two months of receiving CAR T cells. The team described the results as impressive.

The scientists are now planning to enroll 100 patients in this clinical trial. Dr. Zhao said that in early 2018, they plan to conduct a similar clinical trial in the United States. They also like to know if BCMA CAR T-cell therapy could help patients who have multiple myeloma.

Multiple myeloma also referred to as plasma cell myeloma is a cancer of plasma cells. These cells are a type of white blood cell that generates antibodies. The symptoms include bone pain, frequent infections, bleeding and anemia. Other complications include amyloidosis. Its causes are unknown and unclear.

This type of cancer is now on the rise. It is now the second fastest growing cancer for men and third for women. There are over 30,000 cases occuring every year in the United States and more than 115,000 all around the globe.

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