Dr. Brentjens on Modifying T Cells in Hematologic Cancers
Renier J. Brentjens, MD, PhD, associate professor, chief, Cellular Therapeutics Center, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, explains how CAR-modified T cells can be used to treat hematologic cancers.
Because the patient’s own immune system has failed to recognize and kill tumor cells, Brentjens says, T cells are removed from the patient and modified. The T cells are injected with a virus that was modified in the laboratory, causing the T cells to express a “Frankenstein-like molecule.” Brentjens says after the modification, the T cells are injected back into the patient and can now recognize and kill off the tumor cells.
This approach has been looked at to treat B-cell cancers, including CLL and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, as well as ALL. Brentjens says in both settings, remarkable responses have been seen.