Jae H. Park, MD, attending physician, Leukemia Service and Cellular Therapeutics Center, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, discusses the use of CAR T cells in the treatment of patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Jae H. Park, MD, attending physician, Leukemia Service and Cellular Therapeutics Center, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, discusses the use of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy in the treatment of patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).
CAR T cells have proven to be an effective treatment option, and there is an FDA approval for the CD19-targeted therapy tisagenlecleucel (Kymriah) for use in pediatric and young adult patients with relapsed/refractory disease. This product has shown efficacy even in patients who have progressed on 3 or 4 lines of prior therapy.
However, there are several challenges that need to be addressed with CAR T-cell therapy moving forward, Park says. Mainly, oncologists still do not know how to minimize the risk of relapse in these patients. Ongoing research is looking to tackle this issue by further modifying CAR T cells or combining this therapy with other modalities. Eventually, Park notes, CAR T cells could be moved into the earlier treatment settings as opposed to being used in the third or fourth line. In addition, it would be useful to have an FDA-approved CAR T-cell product for the treatment of adult patients with ALL, as tisagenlecleucel is only approved for patients up to age 25.