The trials, a collaboration between The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania, are overseen by Carl H. June, M.D., the Richard W. Vague Professor in Immunotherapy in the department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and director of Translational Research in Penn's Abramson Cancer Center.
Grupp presented alongside Penn investigator Michael Kalos, Ph.D., during the press program. Kalos showed that measuring the number and activity of engineered T cells in patients with both ALL and chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) who were treated with this investigational approach provided a useful gauge of treatment success.
A relatively new approach in cancer treatment, this type of immunotherapy relies on T cells, the workhorses of the body's immune system. Because B cells become cancerous in specific leukemias such as ALL, CTL019 cells function as cancer hunters, killing the leukemia cells that normally evade regular T cell surveillance. Researchers first extract a patient's own T cells and genetically modify them in Penn's cell and vaccine production facility to create CTL019 cells. Bioengineering techniques are used to reprogram each patient's T cells into chimeric antigen receptor cellsthe CTL019 cellscustom-designed to bind to a protein called CD19 that exists only on the surface of B cells. Then, the cells are returned to the patient's body, where they proliferate and then eliminate B cells. Moreover, they persist in the circulation, helping to guard against the cancer's recurrence.
The current study reflects an ongoing collaboration between Grupp and the Penn Medicine scientists who originally developed this personalized cell therapy as a treatment for adult patients with CLL, another B-cell leukemia.
The CHOP/Penn research colleagues ada
|Contact: Rachel Salis-Silverman|
Children's Hospital of Philadelphia