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Penn Medicine team reports on study of first 59 leukemia patients who received cell therapy
Date:12/7/2013

erapy, with seven of those experiencing a complete remission of their disease. Results of both the completed pilot study of 14 CLL patients (Abstract #4162) and results thus far of the first 18 patients in a Phase II, dose-optimization trial (Abstract #873) will be presented.

  • 19 of 22 pediatric patients with ALL (86 percent) experienced complete remissions. The first pediatric patient treated with the protocol, who is now 8 years old, remains in remission 20 months later. Five patients have relapsed, including one whose tests revealed new tumor cells that do not express the protein targeted by the reprogrammed cells. (Abstract #67)

  • All five of the first adult ALL patients treated thus far experienced complete remissions, the longest of which continues six months after treatment. One patient subsequently underwent a bone marrow transplant and remains in remission. One patient relapsed after three months with disease that also tested negative for the engineered cell target. (Abstract #67)

    Building a Cancer-Killing CAR

    The investigational treatment pioneered by the Penn team begins by removing patients' T cells via an apheresis process similar to blood donation, then reprogramming them in Penn's cell and vaccine production facility with a gene transfer technique using a lentivirus vector. The newly built T cells target tumor cells using an antibody-like protein, called a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR), which is expressed on the surface of the T cells and designed to bind to a protein called CD19, which is found on the surface of the cancerous B cells associated with both CLL and ALL.

    The modified cells are then infused back into the patient's body following lymphodepleting chemotherapy. In the body, these "hunter" T cells both multiply and attack. A signaling domain built into the CAR promotes rapid growth of these cells, building an army of tumor-killing cells that tests reveal can grow to more than 10,000 n
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  • Contact: Holly Auer
    holly.auer@uphs.upenn.edu
    215-200-2313
    University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
    Source:Eurekalert  

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