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Researchers discover new therapeutic options for individuals whose blood cancer recurs after CAR-T therapy

by Pragati Singh

Researchers at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) and Mount Sinai Hospital have discovered medicines that can help patients with multiple myeloma, a kind of blood cancer, who have tried the immunotherapy CAR-T but have had relapses.
Chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy, or CAR-T for short, treats multiple myeloma by altering immune cells called T cells in the lab to recognise and eliminate cancer cells. Despite being a pioneering therapy for this lethal cancer, some patients who get CAR-T therapy relapse and are left with no other acceptable therapeutic alternatives.

According to a recent study published in the journal Blood in November, when multiple myeloma patients relapsed after BCMA-directed CAR-T, a type of CAR-T cell therapy that targets the BCMA protein on cancerous plasma cells to treat multiple myeloma, they were treated with a variety of different therapies.
Alternative T cell treatments, such as bispecific antibodies and various kinds of CAR-T cell therapy, tend to have the most pronounced efficiency in permanently eliminating the illness in these relapsed individuals, according to the researchers.

“The findings of this study will serve as a benchmark for future prospective clinical studies that intend to improve the outcomes of patients who progress after CAR-T,” said Samir Parekh, MD, Director of Translational Research in Multiple Myeloma and co-leader of The Tisch Cancer Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.
“This is the first research to report on the results of various treatment alternatives administered to a large cohort of patients who relapsed after receiving anti-BCMA CAR-T therapy. This is one of the most pressing and unmet demands in myeloma patients, and it piques the haematology community’s interest.”

This study looked at the disease characteristics, post-relapse medicines, and treatment responses of 79 individuals. Patients’ median overall survival is presently about 18 months.
Stem cell transplantation was also successful in these individuals. The study revealed that different treatment combinations may be delivered with variable degrees of efficacy based on the characteristics of each patient’s cancer.
The patients were cared for at the Tisch Cancer Institute and MSK.
“We are excited that subsequent use of additional innovative immune treatments, such as a second CAR-T cell therapy or a bispecific antibody, was possible and resulted in sustained responses in patients,” said Sham Mailankody, MBBS, MSK Associate Attending Physician and senior author on the research.

“We are excited to continue this research and realise the full potential of immune treatments for patients with multiple myeloma.”

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