Friday, October 11, 2013

Engineered T Cells for Lymphoma at NIH

I've written about a new technology called "CAR T-cells" for CLL.  CAR is short for "chimeric antigen receptor."  In short, it is a new method of harnessing the power of your own immune system by reprogramming it to go after the cancer.  Please see my prior posts for more complete description and amazingly cool video.

While it may sound like science fiction, it made quite a splash two years ago in the scientific literature and is now getting out to a bunch of universities.  If I am not missing anyone, I think 10 separate academic programs currently have CAR T-cell programs going and Novartis has made a big push into the field as well.

Most of the programs out there have gone after CLL or Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (really super bad type of blood cancer).  I wanted to highlight one program however that is taking the program and going after lymphoma.  It is currently run out of the NIH.

I am honestly not sure how the current "government shutdown" is affecting clinical trial accrual for these studies but I think they are currently accruing patients with relapsed / refractory DLBCL and possibly even follicular lymphoma.

With NIH studies, you pay your way to the first visit, but if you get accepted into the trial, they cover all you subsequent travel expenses etc.

If I had relapsed DLBCL or multiply recurrent indolent lymphoma, I would be on the first plane to NIH for these studies.  I thought I should call your attention to them.  For more information about the study click here