HEMATOLOGY UPDATE Cell Therapy
May 17, 2018
IT’S ALL ABOUT CELLS!
Harnessing cells of the immune system to eradicate various types of cancer has been a strong focus of cancer research in our program over the past five years. Here we highlight two new cellular immunotherapy clinical trials available for treating patients with blood cancers, metastatic colon cancer and sarcoma. In both trials, the cells will be manufactured at our cell therapy facility.
Dr. Folashade Otegbeye is leading a Phase I trial in which natural killer cells (NK cells) are obtained from the blood of healthy volunteers and then allowed to grow in our FACT accredited, GMP-grade laboratory. While the NK cells are growing in the lab, they are stimulated with feeder cells and cytokines, which cause them to generate a large number of highly activated cancer-fighting NK cells. In Dr. David Wald’s lab, Dr. Otegbeye has shown that the NK cells resulting from this type of manufacturing are able to eradicate several types of acute leukemia, colon cancer and sarcoma in non-human models of disease. These results led to the design of the trial CASE2Z16, which is now open to enroll and treat patients who have leukemia, lymphoma, myeloma, colon cancer and sarcoma if their disease has relapsed or is not responding to standard, first-line treatments.
Dr. Paolo Caimi is treating patients with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma that is refractory to standard first-line with chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells targeting CD19. This is our first in-house manufactured CAR T study. Cells are manufactured in our cell processing laboratory under the direction of Jane Reese-Koc, Operations Director, Cellular Therapy Service.
CAR T cells are genetically modified patient T cells, with the introduction of a receptor that includes parts of an antibody that allow these modified T cells to target specific antigens. In this trial, CAR T cells are modified to target CD19, a protein found on the surface of many non-Hodgkin lymphomas of the B cell subtype. Attachment of the CAR T cells to their target results in T cell activation and anti-tumoral immune response. CAR T cells targeting CD19 have demonstrated promising activity against multiple types of B cell non Hodgkin lymphoma. This clinical trial, CASE2417, is now open to enrollment.
Marcos de Lima, MD
Director, Bone Marrow Transplant
UH Cleveland Medical Center
Director, Hematologic Malignancies and Stem Cell Transplant Program
UH Seidman Cancer Center
Professor of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine