CAR T-cells, a Promising Therapy for Curing Cancer

Targeted therapies are increasingly gaining popularity across the globe in the treatment of cancer because of its specificity in targeting particular cells or diseased areas in our body. Immunotherapy is one of the major kinds of targeted therapy used in field of oncology.  A rapidly emerging immunotherapy approach is known as Adoptive Transfer Act (ACT). This approach involves collecting and using patient’s own immune cells to treat diseases like cancer. There are several types of ACT, but, thus far, the one that has advanced the furthest in clinical development is called CAR T-cell (Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-cell) therapy. CAR-T cell therapy is a treatment in which a patient’s T cells are changed in the laboratory, so they will specifically attack cancer cells. T cells are taken from a patient’s blood and the gene for a special receptor that binds to a certain protein on the patient’s cancer cells is inserted in vitro. The special receptor is called Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) and the cells harboring CAR is known as CAR-T cells. These modified cells are grown in the laboratory and given to the patient by infusion. CAR-T cell therapy is being studied in the treatment of some other types of cancer. Until recently, CAR T-cells has been restricted to small clinical trials, largely in patients with advanced blood cancers. But these treatments have nevertheless captured the attention of researchers and public. In 2017, FDA had approved two CAR T-cell for the treatment of cancer which was hailed as the watershed in both patient care and cancer research. In August 2017, Novartis has got FDA approval for Kymriah (tisagenlecleucel) suspension for intravenous infusion. This is the first chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy (CAR-T) therapy, for the treatment of patients up to 25 years of age with B-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) that is refractory or in second or later relapse. This novel immunocellular therapy is one-time treatment that uses patients own T cells to fight cancer. In the same year, in October 2017, FDA approved axicabtagene ciloleucel (Yescarta) for patients with large B-cell lymphomas whose cancer has progressed after receiving at least two prior treatment regimens. Large B-cell lymphomas include diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), high-grade B-cell lymphomas, primary mediastinal large B-cell lymphoma and transformed follicular lymphoma. This drug was initially developed at NCI by Steven A. Rosenberg and his colleagues of the surgery branch in NCI’s Center for Cancer Research (CCR). The product was then licensed to a private company, Kite Pharma, for the further development and commercialization. Researchers are also conducting studies to use CAR T-cells to treat other diseases such as AIDS, autoimmune disease, infectious disease and others. In the near future, if these studies are successful CAR-T cells can be used to treat wide range of disease conditions other than cancer.

– Arpitha
Market Research Analyst(Healthcare)
Infoholic Research