Here’s something interesting and heart warming to reflect on at the end of a long week:

“Cellular therapy of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)+ posttransplantation lymphoproliferative diseases (PTLD) in cord blood transplant (CBT) recipients is limited by lack of donor access and the donor’s naive neonatal immune system. We therefore used partially human leukocyte antigen–matched third-party in vitro expanded EBV-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) to treat 2 CBT recipients with life-threatening, donor-derived monoclonal EBV+ diffuse large B-cell lymphomas with extranodal involvement developing in the context of graft-versus-host disease. Both patients had failed immunosuppression taper and rituximab. After 5 and 9 infusions of 106 EBV-CTL/kg, respectively, each patient achieved a sustained complete remission without toxicity or graft-versus-host disease. Each is alive without recurrence at 20 and 15 months, respectively, post–EBV-PTLD diagnosis.”

Barker et al., (2010) Blood

Viral reactivation post-transplant is potentially life threatening, yet here is a fascinating case study where two young patients were treated effectively and are still alive today.

Atara Biotherapeutics $ATRA announced yesterday (press release) that data from their collaboration with Memorial Sloan Kettering on cytotoxic T lymphocytes against Epstein Barr Virus (EBV-CTL) will be presented at the forthcoming AACR annual meeting. Readers will recall the therapy obtained FDA Breakthrough Designation earlier this month.

So what’s the real story behind this novel approach and how can T cells be used in ever more creative ways? Is there a market opportunity and who are the key players in this space?

Be warned this is a long read, and took us a while to put together. It contains insights from two thought leaders as well as our commentary and analysis. Grab yourself a cup of coffee……

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