September 8, 2020
Response and Remission Rates ‘Very Exciting’ for Patients with Relapsed-Refractory Disease
- Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy had response rates of 85% or more
- The treatment targets B-cell maturation antigen (BCMA) in multiple myeloma
- Quality of life is much better than with chemotherapy
Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy has demonstrated efficacy in multiple myeloma. An article published in The New England Journal of Medicine reported response rates of 85% among patients treated with CAR T-cell therapy. “Those are actually better numbers than we have seen in the relapsed-refractory setting, ever in the history of multiple myeloma. That makes it very exciting,” Dr. Robert Orlowski, director of myeloma and professor of medicine at MD Anderson Cancer Center, tells SurvivorNet Connect.
CAR T-cell therapies targeting CD19 have already been approved for the treatment of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and diffuse large B cell lymphoma. Now, research on this therapy for multiple myeloma is under way. In multiple myeloma, the target is B-cell maturation antigen (BCMA). “This is a really good target, because it’s only expressed on myeloma cells and on normal plasma cells. It’s not expressed on other tissues, which means the CAR T-cells will not attack those other tissues and destroy them,” Dr. Orlowski says.
“I think the quality of life after CAR-T therapy, if people have a great response, is much better than with standard chemotherapies,” he adds. “Many of the patients who were quite sick at the beginning feel better after this than after any prior therapy that they’ve had. Often they’re able to go back to work and have a full lifestyle.”