Fine-tuning CAR-T cancer therapy could eliminate serious side effects, study says

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A novel approach to CAR-T cancer therapy promises to upend what has become a truism in medicine: that the treatment’s dramatic effect on tumors comes with serious risks to patient safety.

In a small clinical trial, patients treated with a slightly modified version of an approved CAR-T saw benefits on par with previous studies but with none of the hallmark side effects.

They began with Novartis’s Kymriah, approved to treat a pair of blood cancers, and then made analogs of their own.

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When they tested these variants in mice, they made a striking observation: One of the modified CAR-Ts was killing cancer cells without triggering a feverish immune response or causing inflammation in the brain, the two most common serious side effects of cell therapy.

Related article:  Cancer advocacy: How one man and his family have coped with glioblastoma

And it held up in human testing. In the study, published in Nature Medicine, the remixed Kymriah led to no serious cases of cytokine release syndrome, an immunological flareup common in CAR-T, and no incidents of neurotoxicity. By contrast, more than half the patients in Novartis’ published studies suffered from cytokine release, and about a quarter had neurological problems.

Read full, original post: With some tweaks, CAR-T cancer therapy could be made safer — and more widely available — study suggests

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