Pediatric oncologist Stephan A. Grupp, M.D., Ph.D., of The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, and colleagues from the University of Pennsylvania presented updated results of the clinical trial involving these engineered cells at the American Society of Hematology (ASH) annual meeting today in Atlanta.
Grupp is the director of Translational Research for the Center for Childhood Cancer Research at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, and a professor of Pediatrics at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.
builds on his
ongoing collaboration with Penn scientists who originally developed the modified T cells as a treatment for B-cell leukemias.
and Penn colleagues adapted the treatment to combat ALL
, the most common childhood leukemia, and also the most common childhood cancer.
In using the CTL019 treatment in his
pediatric patient, Grupp
found that the very activity that destroyed leukemia cells also stimulated a highly activated immune response called a cytokine release syndrome.
The child became very ill and had to be admitted to the intensive care unit.
team decided to counteract these toxic side effects by using 2 immunomodulating drugs that blunted the overactive immune response and rapidly relieved the child's treatment-related symptoms.
These results were effective enough that this approach is now being successfully incorporated into CTL019 treatments for adults as well.
The immunomodulating drugs did not interfere with the CTL019 therapy's anti- leukemia benefits, which have persisted 6 months after the infusion of cell therapy.
This persistence is essential, because the engineered T cells remain in the patient's body to protect against a recurrence of the cancer.
"These engineered T cells have proven to be active in B cell leukemia in adults," said Grupp
Note to Reporters: For interviews with Stephan Grupp, M.D. and the first pediatric patient, please contact Rachel Salis-Silverman, cell: 267-970-3685; firstname.lastname@example.org.