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T cell immunotherapy: Promising results in children and adults with leukemia
Date:12/7/2013

Nearly 90 percent of children and adults with a highly aggressive form of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) showed no evidence of cancer after receiving a novel, personalized cell therapy that reprograms a patient's immune system. In pilot studies of bioengineered T cells that attack leukemia, 24 of 27 patients (89%) experienced complete responses within 28 days after treatment. In all, 27 patients received the treatment--22 children treated at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and five adults treated at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

Pediatric oncologist Stephan A. Grupp, M.D., Ph.D., of The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and a Professor of Pediatrics at the Perelman School of Medicine of the University of Pennsylvania, presented outcomes and follow-up results of this immunotherapy clinical trial for pediatric and adult patients with ALL in a press program today at the annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology (ASH) in New Orleans.

"Our results serve as another important milestone in demonstrating the potential of this cell therapy for patients who have no other therapeutic options," said study author Grupp. "We are also very excited that this approach has worked and been safe in patients who have relapsed after a bone marrow transplant."

All the patients had high-risk ALL that recurred after initial treatment or resisted that treatment from the start. Patients received bioengineered "hunter" T cells called CTL019 cells.

The first child to undergo this therapy, 8-year-old Emily Whitehead, remains cancer-free since her T cell treatment in April 2012, and has gone on to enjoy typical childhood activities like going to school and playing with her dog, Lucy. Emily has appeared prominently in news articles since her doctors announced dramatic findings during the December 2012 ASH meeting.

In follow-up assessments, the researchers reported six relapses among the 24 patients with
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Contact: Rachel Salis-Silverman
Salis@email.chop.edu
267-970-3685
Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
Source:Eurekalert  

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