Trial involving genetically engineered cancer-killing cells halted over patient deaths

Cancer Patient

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Three patients in a study testing the use of genetically engineered cells as a treatment for cancer have died from swelling in the brain, dealing a setback to one of the most exciting pursuits in oncology.

Juno Therapeutics, the company conducting the clinical trial, said on [July 7] that the Food and Drug Administration had temporarily halted the study.

The deaths were “difficult and humbling for everyone involved,” Hans Bishop, the company’s chief executive, said in a conference call with securities analysts.

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Juno, which is based in Seattle, is in a three-way race to bring the first of these treatments to market, competing against Kite Pharma and Novartis. Juno executives said the setback would probably mean that its initial treatment would not get to market by the end of 2017, as it had hoped.

That could clear the way for Kite to be the first, but the company’s shares fell about 10 percent after-hours [July 7]. Investors were apparently concerned that Juno’s problems could portend more regulatory scrutiny or other difficulties for the entire field.

Read full, original post: Juno Halts Cancer Trial Using Gene-Altered Cells After 3 Deaths

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