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Lead Investigator Says Tisagenlecleucel Has Changed Natural History of DLBCL

Brandon Scalea
Published: Wednesday, Jan 23, 2019

Richard T. Maziarz, MD

Richard T. Maziarz, MD

At more than 1.5 years, over 50% of patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) demonstrated a sustained and significant clinical response to tisagenlecleucel (Kymriah), highlighting the long-term efficacy of this type of therapy, according to Richard T. Maziarz, MD.

during the 2018 ASH Annual Meeting, Maziarz, a professor of medicine at Oregon Health & Science University, Knight Cancer Institute, discussed the updated findings from JULIET and their clinical implications for patients with DLBCL.

OncLive: Please provide some background to the JULIET study.

Maziarz: This is the study that led to the FDA approval of tisagenlecleucel, which is the CAR T-cell product used against the CD19 target molecule in patients with relapsed/refractory lymphomas. This is a disease with a myriad of subtypes, and there are about 75,000 cases per year in the United States. About one-third of those patients have DLBCL. It has an aggressive behavior, but about 60% of them can be cured with chemotherapy and immunotherapy. The other 40% cannot be cured.

We will see a massive number of cells that will grow. The beauty of it is that it works. A lot of people were surprised to see the biology we actually predicted and the fact that it works in humans and not just mice.

What findings are being presented at the 2018 ASH Annual Meeting?

We are now seeing long-term responses. The importance of that is sometimes you will present initial data, and people will say, "Well, maybe we are seeing these results because of this or that. Maybe it had something to do with the selection, the patients, or the design.” In the JULIET trial, we are now over 1.5 years out from the time of infusion.


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