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Innovative CAR-T cancer treatments offer cures–and sometimes high risks

| | October 25, 2017

[T]here’s a reason CAR-T is reserved for [cancer] patients that fail to improve under front-line treatments: it comes with horrid side effects and can itself be fatal. We are slowly finding exciting treatments for formerly deadly diseases, but the pathway remains riddled with landmines.

CAR-T is not a drug; it’s a genetically modified cell therapy.

One of the ways T cells unleash havoc is by spraying out pro-inflammatory molecules, called cytokines, that recruit other immune cells to join the fray. If the CAR-T cells are too potent, or if there are too many of them, the patient is swamped in cytokines, resulting in a severe inflammatory condition called cytokine release syndrome (CRS). In the successful Novartis trial, nearly half of the patients experienced this side effect, though they all recovered. Most CRS sufferers experience a high fever that recedes in the two weeks following treatment. But in the worst cases of CRS, which get dubbed cytokine storm, that fever can lead to a fatal swelling of the brain.

The excitement around CAR-T may not yet be at its crescendo. As of this writing, nearly 400 CAR-T clinical trials are registered with the FDA, some even targeting brain tumors. But CAR-T is not some miracle cure. CRS is a potentially deadly side effect that many patients will suffer.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: CAR-T could revolutionize cancer treatment. It can also be fatal

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Click the link above to read the full, original article.
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