NEW ORLEANS—High remission rates with extended survival are being achieved in patients who had failed all other therapies — including allogeneic stem cell transplantation — for their acute lymphoblastic leukemia and otherwise had very short life expectancies. Stephan A Grupp, MD, PhD from the University of Pennsylvania and his colleague Michael Kalos PhD discussed their findings from a study presented here of T-cells engineered with a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) targeting CD19 (CTL019) which they found to have significant in vivo proliferation, produce complete responses and had long-term persistence without graft versus host disease in children and adults with relapsed, refractory disease. Laurence Cooper MD, PhD, of the M D Anderson Cancer Center in Houston — moderator of a press briefing here on CAR T-cell therapy — assessed the potential scope of this treatment in hematologic malignancy and solid tumors. George Canellos MD from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston added his opinion about the value and application of this technology.
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