Last year the two FDA approvals of tisagenlecleucel (Novartis) and axicabtagene ciloleucel (Kite/Gilead) CAR T cell therapy for hematologic malignancies such as pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia (pALL) and non-Hodgkins lymphoma (NHL) have captured a lot of attention.
It’s worth remembering, however, that back in 2010 the first patient who had a dramatic response to CD19 targeted CAR T cell therapy was actually a gentleman with advanced chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), the case study of which was subsequently published by Porter et al., (2011) in the New England Journal of Medicine.
We’ve been following CAR T cell therapy and its potential in CLL for some time now, with all the successes, trials and tribulations along the way.
Dr David Porter (Penn) told BSB earlier this month:
“The very first patients we treated are now eight years out from their infusion, a little over eight years, and still in remission, still doing extremely well with no evidence of disease or progression, never had any other therapy. So, I think it’s become very clear that for some patients this is effective in the far advanced setting.”
It’s now two years since we last spoke and it was a great pleasure to reconnect with Dr Porter. As he told BSB at ASH in San Diego:
“One way you make it better is to understand why it’s working and why it’s not.”
What have we since learnt about the potential for adoptive cellular therapy in CLL and what new insights did we gain from new data presented at ASH18? The answers may well surprise you.