Research Roundup

CAR T Therapy for Lymphoma Available at Montefiore/Einstein—In results published online on December 10 in The New England Journal of Medicine, a type of immunotherapy called CAR-T cell therapy achieved impressive results in a phase 2 clinical trial involving 101 patients with large B-cell lymphomas that had not responded to other forms of treatment. Symptoms disappeared completely in 54 percent of patients, 82 percent had measurable improvement and more than half of patients survived 18 months after treatment. In CAR-T therapy, T cells are separated from a patient’s blood and are genetically engineered to produce receptors on their surfaces called chimeric antigen receptors, or CARs. These synthetic receptors allow the T cells to recognize and attach to a specific antigen on tumor cells—in this case, the CD19 antigen on B cells from which this type of lymphoma arises. After the modified T cells multiply in the laboratory, they are infused back into the patient to seek out and kill cancer cells bearing the CD19 antigen. Ira Braunschweig, M.D., associate professor of medicine at Einstein and director of the Stem Cell Transplant Program and clinical director of Hematologic Malignancies at Montefiore co-authored the NEJM paper and treated six of the patients in the CAR-T therapy trial. Montefiore is now an approved center of excellence for CART therapy and is one of the few such centers in the US to offer this treatment to patients with lymphoma and leukemia.

Tuesday, January 09, 2018