A cord blood-derived CAR NK-cell therapy targeting CD19 showed promising results for patients with NHL and CLL.
Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T–cell therapy has been used with some success for certain types of hematological malignancies. The medical scientific community considers the possibility of using this approach for a wider spectrum of B-cell malignancies. However, there are a few significant limitations that affect the widespread successful use of CAR T for these forms of cancer.
For example, the production of CAR T–cells is complicated and must be produced on a single-patient basis. Most importantly, significant toxicity has been observed in many patients treated using CAR T cells. Noted adverse effects include cytokine release syndrome and effects on the central nervous system.
Allogeneic natural killer (NK) cells derived from cord blood has been found to be relatively safe for patients, even without the need for complete HLA matching. Therefore, there is no need to produce an NK-related CAR product on a single-patient basis.
Given the potential for the use of NK cells for CAR therapy, a collaboration of scientists conducted a Phase I/IIa trial at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in patients with non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) and chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL).
The patients were treated with TAC-007, which is a cord blood-derived CAR NK–cell therapy targeting CD19. The results of the trial show that within nearly 14 months of follow-up, 73% of the study’s 11 patients responded to the treatment, and initial signs of responses were evident within a month of infusion.
Four patients with NHL and three with CLL achieved complete responses. Also notable was the lack of cytokine release syndrome and neurotoxicity in the patients treated. Despite HLA mismatch between the patients and the CAR NK cells, there were no graft-versus-host disease occurrences.
The treatments were possible on an outpatient basis, which represents another potential benefit of therapy using CAR NK cells. Proceeding to additional multicenter clinical trials with a larger patient population is beneficial to determine the potential of wider use in patients with various hematological malignancies. CAR NK cells could prove to be a successful treatment in patients with B-cell cancers and have a lower potential for serious adverse effects.
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Reference: CAR NK-Cell Therapy Induces Clinical Responses in Patients With NHL and CLL. (2020). Targeted Oncology. Retrieved 2 March 2020, from https://www.targetedonc.com/news/car-nkcell-therapy-induces-clinical-responses-in-patients-with-nhl-and-cll