Coming soon: CAR T-cell approvals in multiple myeloma


The next major approval in the chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy arena will target multiple myeloma, and will “completely transform oncology,” according to Carl June, MD.

That approval is anticipated sometime in 2019.

“Myeloma is the most common blood cancer in adults, and there’s never been a curative therapy, but now there is a subset of patients who look like they’re cured with CAR T cells,” Dr. June, the Richard W. Vague Professor in Immunotherapy and a pioneer in CAR T-cell research at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, said in an interview.

The first treated patient in a trial of a novel anti-B-cell maturation antigen (BCMA)-specific CAR T-cell therapy (CART-BCMA) developed by University of Pennsylvania researchers in collaboration with Novartis is part of that subset.

Woodring Wright, MD, a professor of cell biology and medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (UT Southwestern) in Dallas recently outed himself as that first patient, announcing in a Feb. 14, 2018, UT Southwestern press report that CART-BCMA saved his life.

Dr. Wright, who holds the Southland Financial Corporation Distinguished Chair in Geriatrics at UT Southwestern, was diagnosed with multiple myeloma about 12 years ago and failed 11 prior chemotherapies before he was enrolled in the CART-BCMA trial.

“Now he considers himself cured,” Dr. June said.


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