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Does T-Cell Health Affect Treatment Outcomes?

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Published on March 25, 2020

Key Takeaways

  • Newly diagnosed patients have healthier T cells than those with relapsed myeloma, suggesting that initial treatment with a T-cell therapy may be beneficial.
  • Of patients who have relapsed, ones with healthier T cells have better outcomes with CAR T-cell therapy. 
  • “Off-the-shelf” allogenous T cells are in clinical trial development right now, which means modifying other people’s T cells ahead of time and having them ready to go for treatment.

Several chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapies are in development for treating multiple myeloma. This is when a patient’s T cells are harvested, genetically engineered to intensify the immune system's response to myeloma and infused back into the body to attack cancer cells.

How important is it that the patient’s T cells are healthy to begin with? Expert Dr. Nina Shah, from the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) Health, discusses this during a recent conference. 

Watch now to find out what factors need to be taken into consideration when thinking about CAR T-cell therapy and if there’s such a thing as “off the shelf” T cells.

This program is sponsored by GSK and Karyopharm. These organizations have no editorial control. It is produced by Patient Power. Patient Power is solely responsible for program content.

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Transcript | Does T-Cell Health Affect Treatment Outcomes?

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.

Jenny Ahlstrom:          

Hello, my name is Jenny Ahlstrom, and I’m the founder of Myeloma Crowd, and welcome to Patient Power. Today we have with us three myeloma experts at the ASH Hematology 2019 meeting. And we’re really thrilled to have them with us and talk about all the amazing advances that are happening. So, thank you, doctors, for coming.

We have with us Faith Davies from NYU, we have Larry Anderson from UT Southwestern, and we have Nina Shah from University of California in San Francisco, UCSF, and there’s so much to talk about.

Let’s say I’m a patient who’s been through lots of lines of therapy. My T cells may not be as strong as they were at the beginning. Or with myeloma is it just already depressed anyway, because let’s say that I have newly diagnosed myeloma. Where does that all factor in? Because I can see some of these approaches being off the shelf, or what they call allo, somebody else’s T cells are being used to develop these. So, what’s the opinion?

Dr. Shah:                     

Yeah, this was actually recently published by our colleague, Dr. Al Garfall regarding T-cell health. And he was able to show that patients with newly diagnosed myeloma, if you look at their T cells, are healthier than those with relapsed myeloma. And with the ones that are relapsed, the patients with healthier T cells have better outcomes, for example with CAR T-cell therapy.

And actually, the University of Pennsylvania group has done a great job of trying to profile the T cells. So, what does this mean for patients? It means that if these get approved, I shouldn’t wait—like we were talking about, until the last minute. But in the case that you have to wait, as you mentioned, there are allo T-cell products being developed.

So, there are at least three or four being developed right now, and they’re in clinical trials. The advantage of them, as Larry mentioned, you don’t have to wait those four weeks for the T cells to be manufactured. For example, with the autologous product, it takes about four weeks, five weeks. You can actually say, hey, my patient needs this. Can I call and get this cell product delivered to the hospital next week and this might be possible?

The challenge is that these are allo T cells, right, so your body’s going to reject them or they’re going to reject you. So, there are different technologies to tell the T cells, hey, don’t attack the patient’s body. And there are also technologies to help the patient say hey, don’t attack the T cells. Let them do their work.

So that’s what science is happening now. Because we want to get something that’s easy, off the shelf, don’t have to wait, and doable and patients can have access to.

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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