Yearend Wish: CAR Therapy for Every CLL Patient

No, not a Tesla, but something even more wonderful: It appears that not too far down the road there may be a right-off-the-showroom-floor, off-the-shelf  T-cell gene therapy which will be extremely effective, more readily available, and much less costly. That’s the new CAR I’m wishing for. To learn more about CAR, T-cell based gene therapy, and the promising news about them, view Andrew Schorr’s recent PatientPower interview, Understanding Advances in Gene Therapy.

Could a blood cancer patient’s own immune cells soon be used to fight their cancer? In chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) gene therapy, T-cells are taken from a patient and genetically engineered to target and destroy cancer cells. Dr. Laurence Cooper, from MD Anderson Cancer Center, explains exciting research that led to deep remission in some cancer patients, including children and those with advanced disease and limited treatment options. Dr. Cooper shares his enthusiasm about the benefits of precision therapy and the goals of creating accessible–and affordable–personalized medicine.

Patient Power, December 18, 2013

If you yearn for more information about CAR and T-cell gene therapy, read the AP report, Gene therapy scores big wins against blood cancers, and consider exploring the following from the National Cancer Institute and from the recent 2013 American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting:

CAR T-Cell Immunotherapy for ALL – National Cancer Institute

High-Tech Advances in Gene Therapy Overcome Challenges, Offer Hope for Patients with Hard-to-Treat Blood Disorders

Paper: Chimeric Antigen Receptor Modified T Cells Directed Against CD19 (CTL019 cells) Have Long-Term Persistence and Induce Durable Responses In Relapsed, Refractory CLL

Paper: Randomized, Phase II Dose Optimization Study Of Chimeric Antigen Receptor Modified T Cells Directed Against CD19 (CTL019) In Patients With Relapsed, Refractory CLL

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Schematic of the treatment of a patient with chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells. (1) Isolation of peripheral T cells from patient via apheresis. (2) Transfection of T cells with a lentivirus containing genes for CAR directed against the tumor target antigen: binding of virus to T-cell membrane, fusion of virus with cell membrane, reverse transcription, DNA integration, and transcription/protein expression of CAR genes, and insertion of CAR into cell membrane. (3) Adoptive transfer of autologous CAR-T cells via infusion with or without prior lymphodepleting conditioning. (4) Patient monitoring for treatment response, and for persistence of CAR-T cells. Professional illustration by A. Y. Chen.
— Source: Blood Journal

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Webmaster for gotCLL.com is a retired educator who has worked for more than 50 years in secondary, higher, medical, and life-long learning education.
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