Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Can Be Treated With Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-Cell Immunotherapy, Scientists Revealed

First Posted: Dec 07, 2016 03:39 AM EST

The scientists at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center developed a Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-cell immunotherapy, which targets the CD-19 molecule present on the surface of chronic lymphocytic leukemia that affected blood cells.

The data related to the effectivity of the therapy in the treatment of blood cancer was discussed at the recently held American Society of Hematology meeting in San Diego. The otherwise impressive results were demurred by the possible neurological side effects of the immunotherapy, which resulted in the death of many patients during the Juno Therapeutics' CAR-T trials.

Fine Tuning Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-Cell Immunotherapy

According to an improved treatment strategy, the scientists at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center extracted T-cell subsets from the patient and then engineered and re-introduced them into the patient. These engineered cells were found to specifically target the chronic lymphocytic leukemia cells and kill them. As per the report published in Fierce Biotech, the results obtained were highly promising. 14 out of the total 19 patients undergoing the CAR T-cell trials showed partial or complete regression of the disease in their lymph nodes and bone marrow.

Dr. Cameron Turtle, M.D. in Onology, Clinical Research Division, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, discussed the results at the American Society of Hematology and highlighted that, "These are all heavily pretreated patients who've gone through many previous therapies."

Dr. Cameron added that, "It's very pleasing to see patients with refractory disease respond like this." However, GEN reported that one of the patients under trial died of the toxic side effects of CAR T-cell immunotherapy. But for others, the side effects like high fever and neurological symptoms were purely temporary.

Monitoring the Effects of Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-Cell Immunotherapy

Scientists are presently working on interlinking various biomarkers with the therapeutic or toxic outcomes of Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-cell immunotherapy in patients suffering with chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Tracking these biomarkers in an effective manner may help in either progressing or terminating the treatment procedure for patients.

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