Noopur Raje, MD, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and director of the Center for Multiple Myeloma at Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, discusses preliminary data on bb21217 in multiple myeloma.
BCMA appears to be a good target for chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy as evidenced by the data with bb2121, explains Raje. However, physicians are always looking to improve upon what has already been accomplished with CAR T-cell therapy. With current products, T-cell persistence lasts for approximately 6 to 9 months. The longer the T-cell persistence, the longer the potential remission, adds Raje. Early data presented at the 2018 ASH Annual Meeting on bb21217 was designed to extend T-cell persistence by exposing CAR T cells ex vivo/in vitro to the PI3K AKT blocker, bb007.
The theory is that the product will improve the persistence of the CAR T cells and invoke more of a memory T-cell response, explains Raje. The hope is that this will lead to more durable responses and remissions. The data presented at the 2018 ASH Annual Meeting were very preliminary and were very similar to what was seen with bb2121. Whether the remission durations are more durable with bb21217 versus bb2121 remains to be seen, she concludes.