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CAR T-Cell Therapy Named ASCO's Advance of the Year

Jaime Rosenberg
Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy has been named the Advance of the Year in ASCO’s Clinical Cancer Advances 2018. According to the annual report, CAR T-cell therapy is “poised to transform the outlook for children and adults with certain otherwise incurable cancers."
Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy has been named ASCO's Advance of the Year.

The announcement came as part of ASCO’s report, Clinical Cancer Advances 2018, which highlights the most impactful clinical cancer research and policy developments over the past year. According to the annual report, CAR T-cell therapy is “poised to transform the outlook for children and adults with certain otherwise incurable cancers."

“It is remarkable to see these decades of effort come together to create this whole new type of treatment, as well as other precision medicine approaches that offer hope to people with advanced cancer,” said Bruce E. Johnson, MD, FASCO, president, ASCO, in a statement. “While we still have work to do to make these treatments accessible to patients everywhere and more tolerable, the successes of CAR T-cell therapy demonstrate the profound impact new treatments could make to markedly extend the lives of people with cancer.”

A novel way to treat cancer, CAR T-cell therapy genetically reprograms a patient’s own white blood cells to attack tumor cells. In 2017, the FDA approved the first 2 CAR T-cell therapies. In August, Novartis gained approval for tisagenlecleucel (Kymriah) for the treatment of B-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia in certain pediatric and young adult patients. In October, Kite Pharma’s axicabtagene ciloleucel (Yescarta) was green-lighted by the FDA for the treatment of adult patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma who have not responded to or have relapsed after 2 other kinds of treatment.

CAR T-cell therapy has also shown promise in multiple myeloma, demonstrating the ability to increase clinical remission in patients by targeting the B-cell maturation (BCMA) protein that participates in disease progression.

In an interview with The American Journal of Managed Care®, Stephen Schuster, MD, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, explained that results of CAR T-cell therapy treatment in myeloma are early, and there are more trials with larger numbers of patients and longer follow-up needed. However, the target, BCMA on the malignant plasma cells of myeloma look very susceptible to the CAR T approach, said Schuster.

 
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