CAR T cells, engineered from a patient’s own immune cells, have proved to be a valuable weapon in immunotherapy cancer treatment. Now, recent trials demonstrate that CAR T cells may be effective against advanced multiple myeloma.
Global Testing of CAR T Cells
Earlier this year, two groups performed tests on CAR T cells designed to target B-cell maturation antigen (BCMA), a protein specific to myeloma.
- Researchers in China conducted a study in which 33 of 35 patients went into complete remission within two months of treatment.
- A team in Tennessee administered different doses of the CAR T cells to 21 patients. Beyond the first-level dose, patients experienced a 100 percent response rate, with 27 percent achieving a stringent complete response indicating no presence of the disease.
In another encouraging result, patients in both trials who experienced side effects were able to be successfully treated.
How CAR T Cells Fight Cancer
Unlike more traditional forms of cancer treatment, CAR T cells fall under the umbrella of immunotherapy. A patient’s individual immune cells are harvested from their blood, then engineered to target antigens, which are foreign bodies that trigger an immune response.
The CAR T cells are multiplied until they reach a quantity in the billions, then reintroduced into the patient. According to Dr. James Kochenderfer, lead author of the U.S. study, the key is targeting antigens that aren’t expressed in healthy tissues.
Immunotherapy at Issels®: State-of-the-Art Cancer Treatment
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