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Considering CAR T: Is Age a Factor?

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Published on March 30, 2020

Key Takeaways

“Age does certainly come up as a question,” says Dr. Danielle Brander, discussing CAR T-cell therapy and whether or not age is a limiting factor for older patients who would otherwise qualify to receive this innovative therapy.

Dr. Brander, a chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) expert from Duke Cancer Institute, explains how a patient’s age is assessed along with overall health, function and fitness level when determining eligibility for CAR T-cell therapy. She also discusses the importance of patient-physician communication and explains why clinical trials may set strict patient age limits. Watch now to learn from a CLL expert.  

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Transcript | Considering CAR T: Is Age a Factor?

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

Andrew Schorr:                      

Let me ask you about age. So, people are saying, “Well, would I be too old for CAR T?” Let’s say I have 17p and other medicines are no longer working. CAR Texperimentally, might be an option for me. But am I too old? 

Dr. Brander:                

So, CAR T, which is harvesting the immune system and the immune therapy as well as transplant, which, historically, bone marrow transplant is an immune therapy, but you’re giving someone else’s cells in a traditional allotransplant for CLL. Age does certainly come up as a question. Now, if it’s a trial, the given trial might have an age cut-off. That you would have to look up in the eligibility of the given trial. But I’d say, in general, something like CAR T or even transplant—there isn’t always, for a given center, an absolute cut-off as much as with age, patients can have other medical problems, or their function and their fitness might be different. 

So, I’d say less considering an absolute cut-off, in general, and more considering what patients' other medical problems might be, what their fitness and functional level might be. And that’s really a kind of a one-on-one discussion. Now, like I said, if it’s for a given trial, a given trial might have to determine a cut-off from a safety perspective. But, in general, I’d say one shouldn’t assume that there’s an absolute age cut-off as much as patient’s function. Function is a very important part of considering whether patients can safely go through the treatment. 

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

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