Tag Archive for: CAR T-cell therapies

April 2023 Notable News

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April highlights that studying how cancer cells work helps fight cancer itself.  Learning about what causes T-cell exhaustion helps scientists improve CAR T-cell therapies for cancer patients. A study done in the United Kingdom revealed cancer’s infinite ability to evolve and spread, emphasizing the importance of prevention and early detection. In another new study, scientists have learned how cancer cells metastasize. This new knowledge can open the door for better cancer drug testing and cancer treatments.

Helping Cancer-Fighting Cells Not Run Out of Steam

CAR T cell therapy uses the patient’s own T cells, modifies them, and then uses them to kill tumors. These cells get “T cell exhaustion”, causing them to be less effective. In a study published March 20th in Molecular Cell, the scientists report they have elucidated the commanding role of a specialized group of proteins in the nuclei of our cells. These proteins, called mSWI/SNF (or BAF) complexes have important functions- to both activate T cells and trigger their exhaustion, reports Harvard. Scientists found that targeting these complexes with gene-cutting technology or small molecular drugs, can help with the T cell exhaustion. Scientists have found a way to not only reverse the T cell exhaustion, but also to make the T cells more active. Trials using these compounds have moved from animal to human trials, after results showed tumor growth was reduced. Click to read the full story .

Study Reveals Cancers ‘Infinite’ Ability to Evolve

An unprecedented analysis of how cancers grow has revealed an almost infinite ability of tumors to evolve and survive, reports BBC News. Researchers tracked lung cancers over nine years in a study called Tracer X. This study used the biopsies from 400 lung cancer patients at 13 different hospitals in the United Kingdom. Tracer X showed how cancers evolve and what makes them spread. A tumor is one single cell to start but then becomes a mixture of millions of mutated cells, this makes finding a cure for cancer complicated. This study emphasizes that because of the diversity of cells in a tumor, it is important to focus on prevention and early detection. Obesity, smoking, alcohol consumption, poor diet, and inflammation in the body caused by air pollution or inflammatory bowel disease are all preventable risk factors. Cancer was found to evolve as it grows, this fact makes it harder to treat in later stages. Early detection is key to better patient outcomes. Click to read the full story .

How Cancer Cells Muscle Their Way into Organs

The study, published in Advanced Science, found that the more porous and the softer the tissue, the more likely cancer cells were to force their way in and were able to do so more quickly, providing valuable data for research seeking to prevent or halt cancer metastasis, which is the leading cause of cancer mortality, reports Medical Xpress. Solid cancers start in one place, the primary site. Cancer cells come from the primary site and go to other parts of the body to form tumors, this is called metastasis. When cancer cells get out of the circulatory system and go into other tissues it is called extravasation. Doctors can treat metastasized cancer but cannot cure it, and this is why there is a higher incidence of death from metastasized cancer. Scientists have made discoveries by introducing tumor cells into endothelium, through in vitro models. They have now learned how cancer cells penetrate the endothelium. The findings of how this works will allow for further and more precise models to be created to allow for drug testing. Click to read the full story.

An Expert Overview of Emerging Prostate Cancer Treatments

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An Expert Overview of Emerging Prostate Cancer Treatments from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.

What’s the latest in prostate cancer research? Expert Dr. Tanya Dorff shares an overview of emerging prostate cancer therapies and discusses her own research at City of Hope.

Dr. Tanya Dorff is Associate Professor in the Department of Medical Oncology & Therapeutics Research at City of Hope. Learn more about Dr. Dorff.


Related Resources:

Prostate Cancer Research Highlights From ASCO 2022

Thriving With Prostate Cancer: What You Should Know About Care and Treatment

What Questions Should Prostate Cancer Patients Ask About Clinical Trials



Dr. Dorff, are there emerging therapies that are showing promise? 

Dr. Dorff:

There are a lot of emerging therapies. People all over the country and all over the world are working to find new and better ways to treat prostate cancer. So, the breakthrough radiopharmaceutical last year of the Leutetium-177-PSMA is the first, but not the last, I believe, in that field. There are other antigens we can target rather than PSMA, there are other particles we can use rather then Lutetium-177, and so, there are currently clinical trials looking at different constructs.  

Take a winning strategy, and then tweak it a little bit to see if you can make it even better, right? Similarly, the PARP inhibitors, which are FDA-approved for prostate cancer, are being studied in different types of clinical trials to try to expand the number of patients who can benefit from them and amplify the benefit – so, moving them earlier, increasing the types of patients who are appropriate. 

And there are additional targeted therapies, like the PI3-kinase AKT inhibitors, the CDK-46 inhibitors, that are being looked at in combination with our standard hormonal drugs that I think could end up being big advances depending how the results play out. There’s a novel class of drugs, the antigen receptor degraders, which also look tremendously promising in clinical trials and are in Phase III testing in some cases, and then, some additional ones are a little earlier in testing. 

And then, there’s immunotherapy, which is at the heart of my research at City of Hope. Immunotherapy offers the promise of using your own immune system to control the cancer or eradicate the cancer, so we’re looking at different strategies, from oncolytic viruses, to bi-specific T-cell-engaging antibodies, to CAR-T cell therapies in hopes that we will find something that can really induce a big, deep, durable, long-lasting remission for patients. 

December 2022 Digital Health Roundup

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Scientists and engineers have teamed up to create new treatments to help fight cancer. These treatments sound like something out of a science fiction movie but are bringing us closer to ending cancer. Bacteriabots are nanobots used to destroy tumors and trigger the patient’s own immune response to fight their cancer. CRISPR is using CAR T-cells to create therapies for cancer patients that have run out of treatment options. Nanobubbles in combination with ultrasound waves are being used to kill cancer cells with positive results in early testing. As science and technology advance, it opens new options for cancer treatment.

The Army of ‘Bacteriabots’ That Could Combat Cancer Tumors

In this case, the bacteriabots colonized 3D tumor spheroids. They delivered chemotherapeutic molecules, demonstrating an innovative on-demand drug delivery method for cancer treatment reports InterestingEngineering.com . Biobots are time limited and programmed to self-destruct without leaving anything harmful behind. They are targeted for a particular task such as going to places of high acidity as in tumor tissue. Using bacteriabots helps to limit the unwanted side effects of treatment on healthy tissue, unlike the current treatments of chemotherapy and radiation. The use of bacteriabots is a non-invasive way to get into a closed environment like tissue and blood vessels. These biobots can also be used to trigger the patient’s own immune system. There are many things biobots could eventually be used for; treating other diseases and even repairing a torn ACL without surgery. Click to read the full story.

CRISPR Gene-Editing May Boost Cancer Immunotherapy, New Study Finds

CRISPR is developing cancer treatments using CAR T-cell therapies. These are called “living drugs” because they’re living cells of the immune system, taken from cancer patients, and then reinfused after being genetically engineered in the lab to attack the patient’s tumors reports weku.org . Using a drug that is living can make it last a few weeks or even a few years. This therapy offers a treatment for people that have run out of other options like stem cell therapy. Scientists are trying to make an off the shelf version of this therapy that would be available quickly, made in large quantities, and less expensive. They take T cells from a healthy donor and use CRISPR to reprogram the T cells. It reprograms it in several ways; to leave healthy cells alone, to hide from the patient’s own immune system, and to destroy cancer. While studies are showing some positive results from the off the shelf CAR T-cell therapy, it is not as effective as using the patient’s own cells. Click to read the full story.

These Tiny Bubbles are “Warheads” for Killing Cancer

These infinitesimal gas bubbles surround the tumor and then can be exploded via ultrasound, creating “therapeutic warhead,” as they artfully put it in their study, published in the journal Nanoscale freethink.com . High frequency ultrasound can damage tissues surrounding tumors. The use of low frequency ultrasound in combination with the nanobubbles reduces harm to surrounding tissues. The tiny bubbles are injected into the bloodstream which goes into the blood vessels of a tumor and is then leaked into the tissue of the tumor. The low frequency ultrasound makes the bubbles explode and that kills the cancer cells. This is an effective treatment for tumors that are located deep within the body or where there are many tumors. The hope is that this method would replace surgeries to remove cancerous tumors. The trials are currently moving from mouse trials to human trials. Click to read the full story.

How Is CAR T-Cell Therapy Changing Myeloma Care?

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How Is CAR T-Cell Therapy Changing Myeloma Care? from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.

Dr. Abdullah Khan discusses how CAR T-cell therapy works to treat myeloma, the currently approved CAR T-cell therapies, and the outcomes related to progression free survival (PFS) for patients with heavily pre-treated myeloma.

Dr. Abdullah Khan is a hematologist specializing in multiple myeloma and plasma cell disorders at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – The James. Dr. Khan is also an assistant professor in the Division of Hematology at The Ohio State University. Learn more about Dr. Khan.

See More from Innovative Myeloma Therapies

Related Resources:

Immunotherapy: Which Myeloma Patients Is It Right For?

Immunotherapy: Which Patients Is It Right For?

How Is CAR T-Cell Therapy Changing the Myeloma Treatment Landscape?

How Is CAR T-Cell Therapy Changing the Myeloma Treatment Landscape?

What Are the Risks of CAR T-Cell Therapy?



Let’s talk about CAR T-cell therapy. How is CAR T-cell therapy changing the field?  

Dr. Khan:

Myeloma was a little late to the CAR-T game, but we’re very happy it’s here. The two products approved in myeloma are idecabtagene vicleucel, ide-cel for short, and ciltacabtagene autoleucel, or cilta-cel for short. 

So, the way CAR Ts work, they are customized T cells for each individual patient. You collect the T cell from the patient with myeloma. You reengineer them in the laboratory to produce proteins on their surface called chimeric antigen receptor. That’s CAR portion of the CAR T therapy. And these CARs recognize and bind specific proteins on the surface of multiple myeloma.  

So, these genetically modified T cells are then expanded or multiplied to make millions of cells. They’re sent back to the hospital where they were collected, where the patient is. And they’re infused back into the patient. The hope is that these modified cells, these CAR T cells, will continue to multiply in the patient. And with guidance from that engineered receptor, they will recognize and kill multiple myeloma very effectively. 

So, I can provide some numbers to the outcomes of the two approved CAR T cells – CAR T products in multiple myeloma. The first approved was ide-cel in patients with a median of six prior lines of therapy, a single dose of CAR T was able to produce an objective response rate – that’s how many people responded to the treatment – of 73 percent, and the median, the middle person, progressed after 8.8 months of getting this treatment. The other product, cilta-cel, was also studied in patients with a median of six prior lines of therapy, and the objective response rate was an astounding 98 percent.  



Dr. Khan:

And the median progression-free survival is actually not yet reached. So, these are remarkable results with heavily pre-treated myeloma. And the myeloma community’s very excited to actually bring these treatments to earlier lines of therapy such as a newly diagnosed patient with multiple myeloma.