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Promising Cancer Study Halted After Two Patient Deaths

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Tina Robinson3 years ago

A report from FierceBiotech says that Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) recently suspended patient recruitment for an early stage study of engineered T cells used to fight cancer after two patient deaths.

Details of the Study

  • According to FierceBiotech, MSK was forced to put a small cancer treatment study on hold after two patient deaths. The study used “T cells reengineered with chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) against CD19-positive B cells for non Hodgkin lymphoma.” The main focus of the trial was to look at the maximum tolerated dose and safety of the treatment in addition to a secondary focus on progression-free survival.
  • On Sunday, MSK revealed at a meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) that 10 of the 22 patients involved in the study had died, including two patients who died within two weeks of receiving CAR-T cell infusions. MSK noted, “As a matter of routine review of adverse events on study, our center made a decision to pause enrollment and review these two patients in detail.”
  • MSK has said it will change its patient recruitment protocol as well as adjust patient dosages.

About CAR-T Cell Therapy

  • Using gene therapy, CAR-T cells are constructed that will focus specific antigens on the surface of cancer cells. The hope is that by injecting cancer patients with these cells, immune systems will be able to effectively protect against cancerous cells.
  • Small studies have shown that patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia have gone into lasting remission after receiving CAR-T therapy. 


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