On the Horizon: CAR T-Cell Therapy for Cancer Treatment

Traditional cancer treatments include procedures with which we’re all familiar: chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation therapy. But clinicians and scientists continue to work tirelessly to find a cure for the devastating disease. While immunotherapy has been in the news as of late as relates to the treatment of peanut allergies (see our blog, Peanut Allergy Drug Therapies Make National Headlines), there have been advances in its use for the treatment of cancer over the past few years. There are several biologic agents that are FDA approved for different cancers; these targeted therapies are aimed at destroying cancer cells without the troublesome side effects that accompany traditional cancer treatments.

But there’s something new on the horizon from the world of immunotherapy.

“These new cells may remain in the body for some time after infusion, playing a vital role in preventing the recurrence of cancers.”

Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy is a form of immunotherapy that works by extracting a patient’s own T cells (a type of immune cell) and modifying them in a laboratory. The new CAR T cells are then multiplied and infused back into the patient, where they multiply further as they go to work, attacking the targeted antigen on the surface of the cancer cells. Additionally, these new cells may remain in the body for some time after infusion, playing a vital role in preventing the recurrence of cancers.

The treatment is not without side effects. Some of these can include:

  • Cytokine release syndrome (CRS): Large amounts of cytokines in the bloodstream can lead to symptoms such as high fevers and low blood pressure
  • B-cell aplasia: Decreases the body’s ability to make antibodies to fight infection
  • Tumor lysis syndrome (TLS): Metabolic complications from the breakdown of the dying cancer cells

“There are several CAR T technologies in development, but none have been FDA approved yet.”

CAR T-cell treatments are in mid-stage development for treatment of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and lymphoma. However, the only way to receive the innovative treatment is to be involved in a clinical trial. There are several CAR T technologies in development, but none have been FDA approved yet.

Hayes Prognosis is following 2 CAR T-cell products, Tisagenlecleucel-T and Axicabtagene ciloleucel, for which we have 2 reports.

Hayes Prognosis follows health technologies that are nearing regulatory approval as well as those that are newly approved; our focus is on high-impact, high-cost technologies that have the potential to change patient care practices. You don’t have the time to perform extensive literature searches. We do.

Beth Bontemps, Product Manager, Prognosis and News Service