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What Are the Potential Side Effects of CAR T-Cell Therapy?

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Published on May 7, 2018

For chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) patients considering CAR T-cell therapy, it’s important to weigh the risks and benefits with your health care team before making treatment decisions. What are the risks of this treatment option? CLL experts, Dr. Nicole Lamanna from Columbia University Medical Center, and Dr. Michael Keating from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, give insight to the potential side effects from the new immunotherapy. Tune in for a balanced understanding of CAR T-cell therapy to help you make more informed medical decisions.

Provided by CLL Global Research Foundation, which received support from AbbVie Inc., Gilead Sciences, Inc.,Pharmacyclics LLC and TG Therapeutics. It is produced by Patient Power in collaboration with The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

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Transcript | What Are the Potential Side Effects of CAR T-Cell Therapy?

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.

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.

Dr. Lamanna:              

I just wanna say that I think, you know, as we’ve gotten more focused, we’re trying to think of these therapies, some of these newer therapies, as ways to—as we’ve said, sort of stimulate your own immune system to recognize your cancer cells, and then attack your cancer cells. And so, you know, just that some of these, the reason why we’re saying that they’re in their infancy, and a lot of these are still under clinical development is because in doing so, we can set off other parts of your immune system, that can give you lots of side effects. So, we’re working to…

Jeff Folloder:               

…what are some of those side effects? We need to know what those are.

Dr. Lamanna:              

So, in the—obviously, when we’re talking about the CAR therapy, in particular, this can set off a whole bunch of other cytokines, and other inflammatory cells in your body, that can then give you other types of symptoms, such as fever, and chills, and your blood pressure can drop. Some of the, there can be…

…differences in your cognition. And so, these side effects are much more, they’re more intense than we would normally see, with some of our more traditional therapies. And, this is why patients who get CARs are usually monitored, and then followed very closely by specialists who do that. And so, again, this is something that we’re trying to, as we learn more about how to develop some of these therapies, that are more immune mediated, we need to balance that with some of the potential side effects from your own immune system, that can attack your own body, and then figure out ways to help people through that, as we develop these therapies, so this is ongoing. 

Jeff Folloder:               

So, again, this sounds really, really fantastic, and almost science fiction cool. But, we’re already hearing about modifications to the CAR-T cell, what is CAR T-cell lite? It’s not quite as intense, from what I understand, but I don’t think I understand it. 

Dr. Keating:                 

I think you’re probably referring to a clinical trial that we’re conducting here, with using natural killer cells.

Jeff Folloder:                             

Okay.

Dr. Keating:                 

Now, the T cells have to be very closely matched, because if you have someone else’s T cells, either whoever receives them will reject them, or the T cells will attack the patient. But there are some cells that are very good at killing off cancer cells, that are called natural killer cells, and they don’t have to be matched. So, we thought, if we were being limited by side effects, etcetera, and if we were also being limited by the expense of the CAR-T cells, which are very expensive for a patient to receive. Perhaps we could expand up these natural killer cells, and Drs. Rezrami and Schval, and some colleagues over at Baylor have come together with this.

And, so far, it looks more than interesting. It’s not like you go out on a blind date, and they say, how was it? Nice personality, nah! Actually, it—I look forward, each few days to looking at how the progress is going with each of the patients, so—and that’s got the potential to work in a whole range of different cancers. Once we find the target that we need on all these other cancers. 

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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