Immunotherapy, including CAR T cell therapy, is making national and international headlines with its exciting results in the field of cancer research and care.
Seattle Cancer Care Alliance Executive Director and President Dr. Nancy Davidson recently sat down for a live video chat with Bezos Family Immunotherapy Medical Director Dr. David Maloney. Together, they shared the latest breakthroughs in lifesaving immunotherapy treatments. Among the topics: CAR T cell therapy, a method that Dr. Maloney describes as “using cells from the patient and modifying them in the laboratory to get them to then attack cancer.”
“I think that the sky’s the limit,” said Dr. Maloney. “Literally any cancer that you can identify a target that’s associated with the tumor, and then we can make a CAR against it or T cell receptor modified cells against it.”
The following is from a previously recorded live conversation on immunotherapy and CAR T cells. Scroll down to the end of this story to view the entire video.
“To date, most of the data [from clinical trials] has been in leukemia and lymphomas and it’s targeting an antigen or a target that’s on the tumor cell called CD19,” said Dr. Maloney. “Everyone’s very excited; we are anticipating the first FDA approval of this process, this CAR technology with the most recent in Novartis presentation in pediatric and young adult ALL.”
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved on August 30 the use of Novartis CAR T cell immunotherapy, CTL019, as a treatment for advanced leukemia in children and young adults. As new treatment methods become available outside of clinical trials like CTL109, SCCA is leading the way in learning how to administer these breakthrough therapies.
“We are well over 200 patients [cared for with CAR T] now as a single institution and I believe that’s probably the largest of any experience in the world for a single center,” Dr. Maloney said.
“So we have a lot of experience now and it is important to have experience. These treatments are not easy to give; they can have serious side effects and the experience to recognize those side effects and give the products safely is critically important, and will remain so for the field for years to come.”
Dr. Maloney and physicians at SCCA hope to translate the breakthroughs they’ve seen in blood cancers to solid tumors.
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