Benefits of Using CART-T Therapies to Treat Rare Cancers

JUNE 03, 2018
Manuel Litchman, MD
At the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) 2018 annual meeting in Chicago, Manuel Litchman, MD, President and CEO of Mustang Bio Inc, highlighted the advantages of using CAR-T therapies as treatments for rare cancers. 

Dr Litchman: CAR-Ts offer the ability to respond to therapy in a way that, really, no other therapy can. You have heard a lot about immune-oncology harnessing the power of the patient’s own immune system to attack and kill the cancer cells. The CAR-T therapy is an especially powerful way of doing that. It has the specificity of an antibody, and it has the power of the T cells that are directed to a particulate target by the antibody to selectively kill tumor cells that express that target.

The remissions that have been seen in patients have really been quite dramatic—often irrespective of numbers of lines of previous therapy. [It is] able to treat patients that are very sick as well. Yes, there are many side effects, but we’re learning how to manage those side effects, and so, we are able to treat sicker and sicker patients that are end-stage. Once the efficacy and safety are established in those patient populations, then, like all therapies, we would hope to move those therapies to potentially frontline therapy, or at least, second- or third-line therapy. This is being done now across the CAR-T field. 

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