TAMPA, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — A new form of immunotherapy is being called a milestone in cancer treatment. Could this be the big break patients have been waiting for?
Jeffrey Backer didn’t think he’d be taking a swing ever again.
“I never really expected to be here today,” said Backer.
Cancer was taking over his body. He tried chemotherapy, and even a stem cell transplant.
Backer told Ivanhoe, “The secret to being a successful cancer survivor is just stay alive long enough until technology catches up to your disease.”
Backer is hopeful that has now happened. A new form of immunotherapy called CAR T therapy turns the immune system’s T cells into fighters.
Frederick Locke, M.D., an oncologist at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida, detailed, “It’s pretty amazing to see patients go into remission that we really had low hope of standard therapies working.” (Read Full Interview)
Dr. Frederick Locke said the T cells are removed from the patient and sent to a lab, then they’re reprogrammed so they can detect and kill cancer cells. Those new T cells are later infused back into the patient.
“They activate for a fight and they kill the target cells, the cancer cells in this case,” explained Dr. Locke.
Backer said the CAR T therapy was tough, “But in the back of my mind I knew the outcome was going to be good.”
Signs of the disease starting disappearing within a week. Now he’s in complete remission.
“A lot of people die waiting for this opportunity,” said Backer.
However, researchers say this therapy is keeping more patients headed in the right direction.
This new immunotherapy is being tested on patients like Backer with aggressive diffused large B Cell Lymphoma. This is one of the most common malignancies.
Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Supervising Producer; Emily Maza Gleason, Field Producer; Milvionne Chery, Assistant Producer; Roque Correa, Editor; Travis Bell, Videographer.
MEDICAL BREAKTHROUGHS – RESEARCH SUMMARY
TOPIC: Car T Therapy
REPORT: MB #4235
BACKGROUND: Lymphoma is a form of cancer that affects the immune system. It is characterized by the formation of solid tumors on the lymph system, affecting white blood cells. Lymphoma can occur at any age, but it is the most common type of cancer in young people. There are around 80,000 new diagnosed cases of lymphoma in the United States each year. The symptoms of lymphoma are very similar to those of a common cold, but these do not go away over time. There is also swelling of the lymph nodes in the neck or armpits. Since lymphoma is a cancer that affects the white blood cells, it travels through the body very fast and easily, so it is important that treatment is received as soon as possible.
TREATMENTS: Several factors are considered when deciding treatments for lymphoma; the stage of the cancer, age, and overall health of the patient are some of these factors. Most of the time, radiation and chemotherapy are the treatments recommended, but other treatments include:
- Biologic therapy
- Antibody therapy
- Stem-cell transplantation
- Steroid treatment
CAR T THERAPY: The Moffit Research team, led by Dr. Fredrick L. Locke, found promising results in Phase 1 of their Car T therapy study to treat patients who suffer from lymphoma. The therapy consists of insolating the patient’s blood, to be engineered in the research’s facility, in order to target the CD19 protein that is found on lymphoma cells with axicabtagene ciloleucel (KTE-C19). Once the engineered blood is infused, it is put back into the same patient, since the newly infused Car T cells are able to recognize lymphoma cells and destroy them. The goal of phase 1 of the study was to determine if the infusion of KTE-C19 in the blood was safe. The results were published in the January issue of Molecular Therapy, the official journal of the American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy, and proved promising clinical activity where 71 percent of the patients treated developed a rapid complete response to the treatment within one month of starting it. Phase 2 of the study has been initiated since the publication.
(Source: https://moffitt.org/newsroom/press-release-archive/2017/immune-cell-therapy-shows-promising-results-for-lymphoma-patients-says-moffitt-researchers/ & Dr. Fredrick L. Locke)
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