“Exceptional Results” Suggest That CAR T Cell Therapy Could Become New Standard of Care for Patients with Refractory Aggressive Lymphoma

On February 28, 2017, Kite Pharma, Inc., (Nasdaq:KITE) announced positive data from the primary analysis of ZUMA-1 for its lead CAR-T candidate, axicabtagene ciloleucel (previously referred to as KTE-C19), in patients with chemorefractory aggressive B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). The study of 101 patients met the primary endpoint of objective response rate (ORR), or rates of tumor response (complete response + partial response) recorded after a single infusion of axicabtagene ciloleucel, with 82 percent (p < 0.0001). 41% of patients were in response and 36% were in complete response (CR) at month 6 of the study. According to Kite, these results demonstrate the treatment effect of axicabtagene ciloleucel in a patient population with multiple types of aggressive NHL, including diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) enrolled in Cohort 1, as well as primary mediastinal B-cell lymphoma (PMBCL) and transformed follicular lymphoma (TFL) enrolled in Cohort 2. "These results with axicabtagene ciloleucel are exceptional and suggest that more than a third of patients with refractory aggressive NHL could potentially be cured after a single infusion of axicabtagene ciloleucel," said Jeff Wiezorek, M.D., Senior Vice President of Clinical Development. "The ZUMA-1 study was built on a foundation of support and commitment from Dr. Steven Rosenberg and the National Cancer Institute and our ZUMA-1 clinical trial investigators who believed in the potential for CAR-T therapy to change the paradigm of cancer treatment." “This seems extraordinary ... extremely encouraging,” said one independent expert, Dr. Roy Herbst, cancer medicines chief at the Yale Cancer Center, as quoted in a Washington Post article (see link below) on the Kite announcement.
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