Treatment Prompts High Response Rates, Durable Remissions
Taken together, the newly announced results show promise for a range of tough-to-treat blood cancers. All study patients had exhausted conventional treatment options. In many cases, they were ineligible for bone marrow transplantation or declined that option due to the risks associated with the procedure, which carries at least a 20 percent mortality risk.
"We are tremendously excited about these results. About half of our CLL patients responded to this therapy, with most of them having several pounds of tumors eradicated by the genetically modified T cells," says study author David L. Porter, MD, the Jodi Fisher Horowitz Professor in Leukemia Care Excellence and director of Blood and Marrow Transplantation in Penn's Abramson Cancer Center, who will present the two CLL trial abstracts during the meeting. "We've now seen remissions lasting for more than three years, and there are clues that the T cells continue to kill leukemia cells in the body for months after treatment: Even in patients who had only a partial response, we often found that all cancer cells disappeared from their blood and bone marrow, and their lymph nodes continued to shrink over time. In some cases, we have seen partial responses convert to complete remissions over several months."
The research team is especially encouraged by the early results among ALL patients, since that disease progresses rapidly and is very deadly among those who relapse after standard treatments. About 85 percent of pediatric patients with the disease are cured with first-line therapies, but those whose cancers relapse and/or become refractory ha
|Contact: Holly Auer|
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine