Tag Archive for: GPRC5D

Myeloma Research | CAR T-Cell Therapy Clinical Trials

Myeloma Research | CAR T-Cell Therapy Clinical Trials from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.

What new CAR T-cell therapies are being studied in clinical trials? Dr. Adriana Rossi shares an overview of alternatives to CAR T-cell therapy, information about the latest CAR T clinical trials, and advice for patients that may be interested in participating in a trial.

Dr. Adriana Rossi is co-director of the CAR T and stem cell transplant program at the Center for Excellence for Multiple Myeloma at Mount Sinai Health System in New York City. Learn more about Dr. Rossi.

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Katherine Banwell:

What are the alternatives if a patient decides CAR T is not right for them?  

Dr. Adriana Rossi:

I would say as part of this newest revolution and fairly comparable in novelty and method of action would be the bispecific antibodies. So, these are molecules.  

They are not cells. And they activate the patient’s own T cells and bring the T cells to the myeloma, causing very similar side effect profile and very similar effectiveness. The rates are a little bit lower but they are administered as mostly a subcutaneous injection that has to be dosed weekly or every other week. The contrast is it’s a continuous therapy, but it does allow us to adjust as we go, which the cellular therapy doesn’t.  

Katherine Banwell:

While there are approved CAR T-cell therapies for myeloma currently, there are also many others that are in clinical trials. Would you talk about some of the ongoing research in this area?  

Dr. Adriana Rossi:

Absolutely. Again, while we celebrate the tremendous changes that these two CAR Ts have made to the field, they are both autologous, meaning we use the patient’s own T cells for manufacturing. They both target BCMA.  

And they are both what we call second generation T cells. So, other areas are to change the target. So, instead of just targeting BCMA, there are studies specifically targeting GPRC5D, which are coming down fairly soon. Rather than using the patient’s own T cells there are a number of products that use a healthy donor’s T cells, which are available immediately.  

So, we don’t need to go through the bridging therapy, and we don’t have to wait for the cells to be ready. And lastly, there are different manufacturing processes. As I mentioned, the ones we currently have may take up to eight weeks for manufacturing. There are some studies now where cells are basically manufactured, engineered, in 48 hours –  

Katherine Banwell:

Oh, wow.  

Dr. Adriana Rossi:

– and are ready to be infused so that they actually grow in the patient rather than in a Petri dish. So, lots of areas of exploration and I look forward to, in five years, being able to look back and see again how the field has changed.  

Katherine Banwell:

And I’m sure it will, by the sounds of it. Are there any trials introducing CAR T-cell therapy as an earlier line of myeloma treatment?  

Dr. Adriana Rossi:

There are. So, both the products that are now commercially available for the fourth line are being studied in earlier and earlier lines. We actually just this year got results of the CARTITUDE-4 study, which was in one to three prior lines, and expect that that will lead to an earlier approval in the very near future.  

And we have a number of studies, again, with both products looking at patients who have either high risk disease or don’t respond as well as we would like to their frontline therapy, and actually being used as part of that first line.  

Katherine Banwell:

Dr. Rossi, what advice do you have for patients who may be hesitant to participate in a clinical trial?  

Dr. Adriana Rossi:

Education. More than anything, understand what they are. Clinical trials come in all shapes and sizes. We have these exciting molecules that have to go into a first human at some point but we also have tried and true therapies that we know – for example, the CAR T – that is approved in these later lines. That same product is being now offered earlier. So, that has to be within a clinical trial because it’s not the approved indication.  

But it is a product that we know to be safe. We know that it works in advanced disease and are actually expecting that it will work even better in earlier lines. So, clinical trials is a very broad term. Understanding what the patient may be eligible for – meaning, what the study’s looking for – and then comparing that to what the patient is looking for. So, sometimes it’s even modes of therapy. So, if you’re specifically looking for an oral agent, there may be studies that don’t require injections or that many visits. So, really looking widely, speaking to your healthcare physician, and understanding what the options are.   

Katherine Banwell:

And if a patient is interested in possibly participating in a clinical trial, what sorts of questions should they ask?  

Dr. Adriana Rossi:

Very, very good question. First, understanding what clinical trial. Each center will have their own combination. Some studies are available in multiple locations. Some studies are very institution specific. So, meeting with the research team and understanding what are the required testings, what is the required treatments, and what is the required follow-up, I think, is the first part.   

Clinical trials, in order for them to give us the power to generalize and learn lessons are very strict in trying to keep to the schedule just as specified and everything is much more contained. So, making sure that they again understand what they’re signing up for and what they’ll get out of it.  

Advances in Myeloma Treatment | CAR T-Cell Therapy and Bispecific Antibodies

Advances in Myeloma Treatment | CAR T-Cell Therapy and Bispecific Antibodies from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.

How are new treatments impacting the landscape of myeloma care? Dr. Francesca Cottini explains the role of bispecific antibody therapy and CAR T-cell therapy and how these emerging therapies are changing myeloma care.

Dr. Francesca Cottini is Assistant Professor in the Division of Hematology at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center. Learn more about Dr. Cottini.

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Dr. Cottini, I’m wondering if you could briefly go over CAR T-cell therapy and bispecific antibodies. 

Dr. Cottini:

Yes, of course. So, these are all our new therapeutic approaches for patients. And these are types of treatments that are given to patients that already went through their induction, they went into remission, maybe they had a bone marrow transplant.  

And then, after a couple of years or months, unfortunately, the disease came back, and they need the new and different treatment options. So, these two strategies, CAR T and bispecific antibodies, really rely on the T-cells, on the immune cells of the patient. 

And they all focus and target a specific marker on the plasma cells, but they work a little bit differently. So, the bispecific antibodies – and we have different antibodies.  

Some are approved by the FDA, some are just in clinical trials. They practically recognize something that is on the plasma cells, on the myeloma cells, that can be BCMA, GPRC5D, or other targets. So, at the same time that I am able to get close by the T cells, the immune cells, and in this way, practically there is both the antibodies and also the immune cells which is activating and getting rid of the cancer cells. 

So, these are infusions. Often, they’re done initially in the hospital and then in the outpatient setting. Sometimes it’s even every week, every other week or so.  

CAR T are different strategies, and it’s a very smart way of trying to get rid of the cancer cells. So, practically, these are T cells.  

So, these are immune cells from you, from the patient. And they are practically taken and then brought to a very specific and clean facilities where these T cells are modified in order to be able to recognize the cancer cells. 

And then these cancer cells are sent back to us, and then practically they are given into the veins to patient, and then there is this kind of reaction of these T cells, which are very peppy and aggressive to be able to kill all the remaining cancer cells. So, these are all the new strategies. 

Obviously, we are kind of like in the early process, but these are very promising therapies I think we’ll be maybe moved up front even with diagnosis in the next 10, 20 years, we don’t know.  

Top Two Multiple Myeloma Advances in 2022

What are the top two multiple myeloma advances in 2022? In the “Myeloma Treatment & Research Updates From 2022 ASCO and EHA Meetings” program, expert Dr. Krina Patel from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center shares promising news and research highlights from these important conferences. 


The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) 2022 conference had a highly anticipated multiple myeloma session with an update about the impact of stem cell transplants. The DETERMINATION study spent over 10 years studying patient outcomes for those who received a stem cell transplant when they were newly diagnosed versus those who didn’t receive a transplant. Researchers were encouraged by the data that showed those who received a transplant at diagnosis kept their myeloma at bay in progression-free survival mode for 21 months longer than those who didn’t receive transplant at diagnosis. In addition, patients who received a stem cell transplant at the point of their second remission experience a long period of progression-free survival or myeloma hibernation.

2. Antigen Studies

Studies on antigens, or sort of flags on multiple myeloma, examined new ways to target myeloma treatment. Researchers discovered the new antigens of FcHR5 and GPRC5D provide novel methods to attack the multiple myeloma. Clinical studies can now look at developing new treatments to attack these antigens. These discoveries are especially important and hopeful for multiple myeloma patients who’ve already received B-cell maturation antigen (BCMA) treatment and then relapse, since BCMA has been the focus of the antigen treatment approach.

Multiple myeloma researchers at the ASCO and EHA conferences have discovered exciting findings and hope for the future of myeloma care. The studies revealed advances for improving care options and for extending progression-free survival periods. If you want to learn more about multiple myeloma care and treatments, check out our multiple myeloma information.

Myeloma Expert Gives an Overview of Novel Therapies

Myeloma Expert Gives an Overview of Novel Therapies from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.

What novel multiple myeloma therapies are available for patients? Dr. Sikander Ailawadhi from the Mayo Clinic shares an overview of novel therapies of CAR T-cell therapy, monoclonal antibodies, bispecifics, and immunomodulators and discusses therapies currently in rapid development.

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Lisa Hatfield:

We are going to jump right into a discussion about some of the novel therapies that there is much buzz about right now, and it’s kind of an alphabet soup these novel therapies. I actually was trying to digest all of this information and divide it into the general categories.

And correct me if I’m wrong, but we have monoclonal antibodies, we have bispecific antibodies like the CAR-T therapies, and they target different things. We have BCMA, we have GPRC5D, FcRH5, we have things called antibody drug conjugates and cell mods. So, Dr. Ailawadhi, if you can just give us kind of a broad overview of these therapies and how they may be used to harness our immune system, and how they come into play when you’re treating your patients, how and when they come into play when treating your patients.

Dr. Sikander Ailawadhi:

Surely, so I think thanks a lot for bringing up that discussion, this is extremely important, and I think it’s most important because if a myeloma patient goes online and wants to search for information or research, these things start coming up this term start coming up. So it’s extremely important for a knowledgeable and empowered patient to learn about these, understand them, so that they are able to digest that information. And I should mention that a lot of what we’ll talk about about these particular treatments may not be applicable to newly diagnosed patients or a recently diagnosed patient, but this is important enough and exciting enough that I would want every single patient to pick up this information. Learn it hopefully, and maybe park it for now somewhere, so that hopefully down the road it becomes important and handy.

So you asked about monoclonals, bispecific, CAR-Ts, cell mols, etcetera. Let’s take a step back, let’s think about these as strategies to target myeloma. Myeloma treatment is going through a change where immunotherapy and harnessing the body’s own immune system is becoming extremely important, and when we do that, the immunotherapy is typically very targeted, so what these drugs these agents, these terms, this alphabet soup is doing is it is targeting specific markers on the myeloma cell on the plasma cell.

For example, one of the markers is CD38. There is a monoclonal antibody. There are actually two monoclonal antibodies. Daratumumab (Darzalex), rituximab (Rituxan) that are FDA-approved, but there are other ways of targeting CD38, for example, CD38 targeting CAR-T cells, CD38 targeting antibody drug conjugates, etcetera. So CD38 is one important part. A very, very, very important thing in the past one year or a year-and-a-half has been what’s called B-C-M-A, B cell maturation antigen. BCMA is another target on plasma cells. Very effective, very specific.

So there are many, many drugs that are available and becoming available to target BCMA. Right now, there are three drugs that are FDA-approved that can target BCMA. Two of them are CAR-T cells, a particular way of going after BCMA in which the body’s own T cells are collected. These are not stem cells, these are T cells, T lymphocytes, these T cells are collected, they are actually genetically modified to go and fight against the BCMA, and then those modified T cells are multiplied in the lab and given to the person as a drug, they go and seek the plasma cells because of BCMA kill them harnessing the body’s immune system.

So there are two CAR-T cells against BCMA, one called ide-cel (Abecma) and one called cilta-cel (Avekti). There has recently been available a bispecific antibody against BCMA, we call it bispecific because it connects to BCMA from one end and from a second it connects to the body’s T cells again, bring the T cells close to the plasma cells to kill them. Then bispecific antibodies called teclistamab (Tecvayli). And until recently there was another drug available against BCMA which was what’s called an antibody drug conjugate. This drug is called belantamab (Blenrep) for the timing, belantamab has been removed or withdrawn from the market in the U.S., but there are ongoing clinical trials and down the road, it may come back again.

Now, antibody drug conjugate is another way of targeting something in which there is a seeker for the BCMA in this case, and it has a payload of some kind of a toxin, so that when the drug connects to the plasma cell through the BCMA in this case, that toxin is released, it can kill the cell, so either we harness the body’s immune cells, the T cells by CAR-T or bispecific, or we kill the cell by releasing a toxic payload from a drug, antibody drug conjugate, these are all different methods of targeting the myeloma cell. So I talked to you about monoclonal bispecific CAR-T and ADC as different strategies, CD38 and BCMA, some of these strategies are available, but there are other targets which are very exciting and new drugs are being developed against them, two of the very interesting targets there one is called GPRC5D, and the other is FcRH5.

These GPR5CD or FcRH5 are two different targets on myeloma cells. No drugs are currently FDA-approved, but they are being developed very rapidly, and we have a couple of extremely promising agents which will be coming down the pipe. And you also mentioned something called cell mods. Cell mods are some newer drugs in the family of what’s called IMiDs or immunomodulators, in which our patients may be aware of thalidomide (Thalomid), lenalidomide (Revlimid), and pomalidomide (Pomalyst). The cell mods are kind of the same family, and there are a couple of them that are also being developed.

So why is this important for everybody, whether they are newly diagnosed or relapsed or long-term survivor with myeloma, because this tells you that not only are we getting newer drugs in the same classes, we are also getting brand new classes of drugs, and you can imagine that means that those brand new strategies are ways to target the plasma cell, we know cancer cells are smart and they develop invasive mechanisms to become resistant to drugs, but every time something gets resistant if we have a brand new mechanism to go against the disease, but that’s exciting because that’s why we are seeing deeper responses, even in very heavily pre-treated patients, because we are using newer specific, relatively safe, convenient strategies to going after the plasma cell.

I know that was a lot of information, but I hope this helps our listeners learn a little bit about what you rightly said is an alphabet soup, but I would like us to think about it as an exciting time for being a myeloma doctor, and certainly a very hopeful situation for all our patients.