Renier J. Brentjens, MD
CD19 has shown great success as a target for chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy in both acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL). Now, the B-cell maturation antigen (BCMA) has emerged as another promising target, according to Renier J. Brentjens, MD, PhD.
, Brentjens, an associate professor, and chief of the Cellular Therapeutics Center, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, discussed the emergence of BCMA as a target for CAR T-cell therapy and other next steps for the field.
OncLive: Can you discuss other targets being investigated in addition to CD19 for CAR T-cell therapy?
There has been a significant amount of success targeting CD19 on B-cell cancers. In fact, there are 2 drugs that are now commercially available, one from Novartis and one from Gilead. Both are targeting tumor cells that express CD19, particularly in children and young adults with ALL, as well as adults with DLBCL. The question is whether this is the end of the road or if these genetically modified CAR T cells are eventually going to be applied to other cancers or other types of targets.
In addition, we have a long catalog of other approaches that we are eager to test in the clinical setting. One important point is that we can do as many mouse models as we want, since they are very informative and important. However, ultimately what dictates what patients are going to receive this are global phase I and II trials that we need to rapidly institute. These will help us determine which additional modifications we should carry forward to the next FDA-approved product.
Can you discuss the success that we have seen with CD19 in hematologic malignancies?
We started our first trial targeting CD19 and we were one of the first to do so with a retroviral vector in 2006 at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. We have been investigating this for a while. We initially started by treating patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia because it gave us a proper window to make the cells under FDA-approved conditions so we can infuse them into the patient and see the outcomes.
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