Scientists from the City of Hope Beckman Research Institute have demonstrated the potential for a new therapy to treat brain cancer. Things were looking hopeless for a fifty year old brain cancer patient. The patient wasn’t responding to the usual radiation, medication, or surgery. The doctors enrolled him into a clinical trial that is designed to test the safety of a new cancer treatment called CAR-T cell therapy.
After almost eight months of the treatment the patient’s tumor had shrunk to almost nothing, and he went into remission. Without this treatment the patient would probably have been dead by now. While not in the same treated areas, tumors did return.
These conclusions couldn’t have come at a better time. CAR-T got some negative feedback after four patients died. It is unclear if the deaths were due to a reaction between a chemotherapy drug in combination with CAR-T, or if they were caused by CAR-T alone. 94% of terminally ill patients who were treated with CAR-T went into remission, shown in research conducted in 2016.
Currently being developed by NYC-based Fortress Biotech subsidiary Mustang Bio, and is being studied by researchers from the City of Hope Beckman Research Institute is Glioblastoma therapy. A research team led by Benham Badie begins by extracting immune cells from the patient and then adding a receptor that helps the cells target tumors.
“I believe these recent results show we have a potential breakthrough treatment that may have a remarkable impact on patients with malignant brain tumors,” Badie stated. There are nine other patients enrolled in this study, and they have shown similar results. Unfortunately, tumors have emerged in the patient’s brain not treated with CAR-T. Badie says these tumors are comprised of receptor proteins that aren’t recognized by the modified immune cells.