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Will CAR T-Cell Therapy Replace Transplants for CLL?

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Published on May 22, 2018

Where do experts see the future of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) care going? Is CAR T-cell therapy a bridge to, or a replacement for stem cell transplants? Dedicated CLL researchers Dr. Nicole Lamanna and Dr. Alessandra Ferrajoli  discuss the CLL treatment landscape and compare the pros and cons of stem cell transplants vs. CAR T-cell therapy. Which treatment option is more effective? Is there a place for both treatment methods? Watch now to find out more.

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 | Will CAR T-Cell Therapy Replace Transplants for CLL?

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.

Jeff Folloder:               

Dr. Ferrajoli, does CAR-T cell, and this natural killer cell therapy, does this have the potential to replace stem cell transplantation?  

Dr. Ferrajoli:               

Possibly. Possibly. Definitely, it will be. 

Jeff Folloder:               

So, we’re moving forward.  

Dr. Ferrajoli:               

We’re moving forward, yes.  

Dr. Lamanna:              

I think the other thing I wanna say is that um, for stem cell transplant, obviously, since most of the folks diagnosed with CLL tend to be an older population. Not old, but older population. Then the transplant becomes lower on the list. So, in general, regardless, the median age of CLL’s still in the early 70s, and so, the transplant options, as we improve transplants, certainly, we’re offering it to older folks, but because of some of the potential toxicities—although, albeit, improved compared to ten years ago, when we did transplants. Certainly, the option for CLL patients to get transplant has certainly been pushed down. So, we still use transplant for CLL, but there are obviously cases that absolutely make sense, but I think CAR might have an angle in that. Because certainly then it might have availability to even older patient population, which stem cell transplant may not be. 

Dr. Ferrajoli:               

Also, CAR is more – you can control the time better with CAR-T cell, because you don’t need to have a donor, you don’t need to identify a donor, the donor doesn’t have to be checked, screened, available. So, it eliminates one of the components of the stem cell transplant, that is the involvement of the other person. So, at times, CAR-T cell can be done, for individuals where you don’t have a transplant option, because of – if you are already in your mid-70s, let’s say you are the younger in your family, it’s very likely that all your siblings are gonna be older, and then you have to look for an unrelated donor, and this is a very involved and time consuming process. 

Jeff Folloder:               

And, they can still be used in conjunction with inhibitors, correct? 

Dr. Ferrajoli:               

That’s where the field is moving, is to evaluate what makes the CAR-T cell to work better, what are the best approaches to use after the CAR-T cell? To make sure that the benefit continues.

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.