Skip to Navigation Skip to Search Skip to Content
Search All Centers

CAR T-Cell Clinical Trial Updates for Myeloma Patients

Read Transcript
View next

Published on June 15, 2020

What do myeloma patients need to know about CAR T-cell clinical trials?

In this segment from our recent Answers Now program, host and patient advocate Jack Aiello explains the latest information on CAR-T cells and shares results from three related trials named KarMMa, EVOLVE and CARTITUDE. This data was recently presented at the 2020 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting. Watch now to learn which therapies are moving along in the approval process, if you should still consider CAR T-cell therapy during the coronavirus pandemic and more.

This is the second part of a five-part series. Watch Part 1 at What Does the ENDURANCE Trial Mean for Myeloma Patients?, Part 3 at What Does the StaMINA Trial Mean for Myeloma Patients? , Part 4 at Treating Myeloma in Patients with Renal Insufficiency, and Part 5 at New Treatment Options Give Hope to Myeloma Patients .


Transcript | CAR T-Cell Clinical Trial Updates for Myeloma Patients

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.

Recorded on June 5, 2020

Jack Aiello:

I want to welcome my fellow patient advocates. We have Cindy Chmielewski from New Jersey joining us, I have Maddie Hunter from outside of New York City joining us, and Jim Omel from the great state of Nebraska with us. And together, we're going to talk about key takeaways that each of us saw at ASCO.   

So just to give you some background, what the heck is ASCO? Each June researchers from around the world gather to share their findings in Chicago, except this year with the COVID-19 this sharing of discoveries was done virtually. But nearly 43,000 attended from 138 countries to provide both oral and poster presentations with prerecorded videos and slides.        

While ASCO predominantly focuses on solid or tissue cancers, there were several excellent updates provided for the myeloma community. Why do you care about this? Well, with new research, it could change your treatment plan. The research could provide you with questions to ask your doctor. And ultimately like me, I think it gives you hope.

First of all, I'm a 25-year multiple myeloma survivor, having done several transplants, including a tandem in '96 and a full allogeneic in '98. And I've done some  clinical trials as well, but I'm in a good, complete long remission as of right now.

I thought one of the takeaways from ASCO were presentations on three different CAR T therapies. CAR T is where they take your T cells, re-engineered them to attack your myeloma cells, thus making your immune system work better. There are many CAR T programs out there, they're all in clinical trials. And the three CAR-T programs that were addressed at ASCO go by the names of KarMMa, EVOLVE and CARTITUDE. All of these CAR Ts targeted something called a  BCMA antigen. They're still all in clinical trials for heavily pretreated and treated patients.          

And I kind of summarize that the good thing about these CAR-T presentations is that they gave us six months more of data since they were last discussed at ASH. They all seem to show overall responses of 80 to 100 percent. They all show kind of average progression-free survivals of nine to 12 months for the KarMMa trial, which you might have also heard called bb2121, for patients that got into a complete response, they achieved average progression-free survival of over 20 months. That's a long time for heavily pretreated patients.    

And I thought one of the really interesting studies was a poster that examined patients who would have qualified for KarMMA and any of these CAR-T programs, how did they respond without going through CAR T? And you would see that their overall responses were 30 percent, and their median progression-free survival were three to four months. So CAR T is making a big difference. And we as patients look forward to maybe when CAR T is even used earlier in our treatment lines. You might be aware that the KarMMA bb2121 applied to FDA for approval a few months back. It was rejected, and I think will end up being resubmitted for approval this summer. So hopefully things will be approved later this year or early next year, but that's my summary of takeaways from CAR T, that it's an exciting, new treatment program that will become available to patients in general, and is more available to patients at this point via clinical trials. Any thoughts about that?

Maddie Hunter:

Jack, I just wanted to add that it's interesting that there's so much excitement going on with CAR T at a time when many of us are at risk to consider a CAR-T trial, based on some of the vulnerabilities that we have going into clinics and at the time of the pandemic. So I just wanted to add that this is another example of where, what stage you are in in your treatment, what your particulars are, and the conversation with your physician will help you to know whether it's a wise thing to find alternatives until we're out from under the pandemic, or whether this is the right time for you to experience something that is as significant as a CAR T.

Jack Aiello:

It is like a transplant in that you do get a high dose of chemotherapy to start off with, and that further suppresses your immune system. And something you would want to be asking your provider if it's being suggested to do a CAR T, what they're doing to make sure that you hopefully will get through the COVID experience just fine.

Cindy Chmielewski:

And that's where that risks/benefits discussion comes in.

Jack Aiello:

That's right.

Cindy Chmielewski:

We're all so different, so we have to weigh our individual risk with our individual benefit from that type of procedure.

Jack Aiello:

Good. In fact, Cindy, let me ask you to introduce yourself. And I know you're going to talk about a trial. All these trials have interesting names, but this one in particular is called StaMINA.

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.

Recommended for You

View next