On November 6, 2019, it was announced that genetically editing a cancer patient’s immune cells using CRISPR/Cas9 technology, then infusing those cells back into the patient appears safe and feasible, based on early data from the first-ever clinical trial to test the approach in humans in the United States. Researchers from the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania (https://www.pennmedicine.org/cancer) have infused three participants in the trial thus far – two with multiple myeloma and one with sarcoma – and have observed that the edited T cells expand and bind to their tumor target with no serious side effects related to the investigational approach. Penn is conducting the ongoing study in cooperation with the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy (PICI) (https://www.parkerici.org/) and Tmunity Therapeutics (https://www.tmunity.com/). “This trial is primarily concerned with three questions: can we edit T cells in this specific way? Are the resulting T cells functional? And are these cells safe to infuse into a patient? This early data suggests that the answer to all three questions may be yes,” said the study’s principal investigator Edward A. Stadtmauer, MD, Section Chief of Hematologic Malignancies at Penn. Dr. Stadtmauer will present the findings on December 7, 2019 at the 61st American Society of Hematology Annual Meeting and Exposition in Orlando (Abstract #49)(https://www.hematology.org/Annual-Meeting/)(December 7-10).
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