A new type of CAR T-cell therapy more than triples the expected length of remission for multiple myeloma patients who have relapsed several times, according to an international clinical trial with the University of Texas Southwestern (UTSW) as the lead enrolling site. Results of the trial, published in the February 25, 2021 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, were significantly better than those seen with other therapies available to heavily relapsed and refractory myeloma patients who had already received the three main classes of treatment. Nearly three-quarters of the patients had at least a partial response to the therapy. About a third achieved a complete remission, with the disappearance of all traces of cancer. Median time without the disease worsening was 8.8 months with this new treatment, but Larry D. Anderson (photo), MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Internal Medicine and co-first author of the journal article, points out that patients who received the trial's maximum dose of engineered T-cells experienced longer remissions, bringing the average to more than 12 months. Previously, similar patients treated with currently available therapies following multiple relapses have only had an average of three to four months of remission before their disease returned. The NEJM article is titled “Idecabtagene Vicleucel in Relapsed and Refractory Multiple Myeloma” (https://www.nejm.org/doi/10.1056/NEJMoa2024850). "We have patients that are over two years out from their single infusion of CAR T-cells and still in remission despite having no other treatment options when they were enrolled in this trial," says Dr. Anderson, a member of the UTSW’s Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center who cares exclusively for patients with plasma cell disorders, mostly myeloma patients.
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