Unprecedented Results Using T-Cell Therapy
Initial clinical trials of patients terminally ill with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL) have thrilled scientists because the majority of patients were rid of all symptoms after the cancer cells were targeted with the immune system’s T-Cells.
In this study,35 patients with ALL were treated with Cars-modified T-cells; 94% went into remission, although symptoms could reappear at some stage in the future.
Patients with other blood cancers also exhibited response rates in excess of 80 % with the majority of them showing complete remission. In excess of 40 patients with lymphoma were also been treated, with remission rates of more than 50%. A group with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma also showed evidence of diminished cancer symptoms in more than 80% of cases.
The results are “unprecedented” and exemplify astonishing medical breakthroughs.
Researcher Stanley Riddell, of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Washington State said: “This is unprecedented in medicine, to be honest, to get response rates in this range in these very advanced patients. These are in patients that have failed everything. Most of the patients in our trial would be projected to have two to five months to live.”
Chiara Bonini, a haematologist at San Raffaele University in Milan, said that this type of “This is really a revolution,” adding that remission rates like these have never before been seen in more than 15 years of similar research.
“T-cells are a living drug, and in particular they have the potential to persist in our body for our whole lives,” she said.
Published on Feb 16, 2016
Scientists are claiming significant success in targeting a specific type of blood cancer with engineered immune cells in their first clinical trials.
To administer the T-cell therapy, doctors remove immune cells from patients and tag them with “receptor” molecules that target a specific cancer, as other T-cells target the flu or infections. They then infuse the cells back in the patient’s body.
“This is a living therapy,” Riddell said. “When you put it in the cells will undergo expansion in vivo.”
“Much like chemotherapy and radiotherapy, it’s not going to be a save-all,” Riddell said of the new therapy, adding: “I think immunotherapy has finally made it to a pillar of cancer therapy.”
Bonini said: “I think we’re very close to some cellular product.” and expressed the hope that
the modified memory T-cells could eventually provide a long-term defense against cancer, using cells that ‘remember’ it from 10 years earlier, and kill it so quickly you wouldn’t even know you were infected.
A paper on the ALL research is currently under review and pending publication.