Conference Coverage

Bispecific CAR T-cells yield high response rate in relapsed/refractory myeloma



– A dual-targeted chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy has demonstrated a high overall response rate, a long response duration, and manageable safety in patients with relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma, according to an investigator in a phase 1 study.

Dr. Yu Hu of Tongji Medical College in Hubei, China Benjamin Pena/Medscape

Dr. Yu Hu

The overall response rate exceeded 90%, and about three-quarters of patients remained progression-free at 9 months after treatment with the CAR T-cell therapy, which targets both B-cell maturation antigen (BCMA) and CD38, the study investigator reported.

Grade 3 or greater cytokine release syndrome (CRS) occurred in about one-quarter of the patients, and no neurotoxicity was observed, according to investigator Yu Hu, MD, of Tongji Medical College in Hubei, China.

These initial data provide strong evidence to support the further development of a dual-targeted CAR T-cell therapy for hard to treat multiple myeloma,” Dr. Hu said in a press conference.

Short-term relapse has been a “major challenge” with current CAR T-cell therapies currently under investigation for myeloma, most of which target BCMA, according to Dr. Hu.

He said the bispecific CAR T-cell therapy under investigation, known as BM38, was designed to target antigen loss and increase persistence of effector cells. According to the investigator, this was the first study to focus on an anti-BCMA and CD38 dual-targeted CAR T-cell therapy for patients with relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma.

Gary J. Schiller, MD, of UCLA Health, who moderated the press conference, said that while dual-targeting is a potentially “attractive” approach in these hard-to-treat patients, further follow-up is needed to see duration of response and to see if antigen escape re-emerges.

“Cellular therapy is costly, in terms of toxicity as well as financial costs, so you would like to see what the durability of responses is before engaging in that as a late-stage therapy, not to mention moving it up front,” Dr. Schiller said in an interview.

The median progression-free survival (PFS) duration had not been reached at the time of this report, though the 9-month PFS rate was 78.87%, according to the data presented by Dr. Hu.


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