Stem cell transplants lower relapse rate in common cancer – study, The treatments take a person’s own immune system and modifies it to be more effective at eliminating cancer cells.
Children who received cutting edge Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy for cancer have been found less likely to relapse later in life, according to a new study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology late last month.
The research found that CAR T-cell therapy with subsequent stem cell transplants can lead to a relapse rate of less than 10% two years after the procedure, in contrast to a 60% to 100% relapse rate with just the CAR T-cell therapy alone.
“More than 50% of kids in other studies with a different CAR relapse, with the majority of them losing the target the CAR goes after,” said pediatric oncologist and Director of Pediatric Stem Cell Transplant and Immunotherapy at University of Virginia’s Children’s Cancer Center in a press release.
“Most of these kids have a single shot at this life-saving and paradigm-changing therapy called CAR T-cells. We should do all we can to maximize the chance for a cure, and right now that means a transplant after CAR therapy for most.”
The treatments take a person’s own immune system and modify it to be more effective at eliminating cancer cells.
The study was conducted on 50 children and young adults from ages four to 30. Among the 21 who received the treatment, 9.5% had relapsed in two years. This, however, is opposed to those who did not receive the treatment at all, who have all relapsed.
“Even as impactful as CAR T-cell therapy is for children with relapsed leukemia, we now know that the best outcomes happen when the child undergoes a stem cell transplant afterwards,” Lee added in the press release.
“Many parents turn to CAR T-cells to possibly avoid a stem cell transplant, and that is entirely understandable. But there is a window of opportunity after CARs to cure more of these incurable kids with a transplant; our study demonstrates this.”
The next goal of Lee’s research is now determining between those needing a transplant and those can go without one.