Yesterday, at the annual meeting of the American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy in Chicago, researchers from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center released a preliminary report on their Phase 1 study into regionally delivered autologous mesothelin-targeted CAR T cells in patients with pleural mesothelioma.
Drs. Prasad Adusumilli, with co-authors Marjorie Zauderer, and Valerie Rusch (all of whom are connected to the Meso Foundation either through current or past service), announced that mesothelin targeted CAR T cell therapy combined with PD1 agents, showed to be safe and, in certain patients, also effective.
The full study is expected to last another six to nine months to allow researchers additional time to analyze samples and obtain a long term follow-up of patients. Therefore, the study is still open to patients interested in participating. Because it takes two months to enroll a patient and produce their T cells, it is best that patients enroll immediately after diagnosis. Patients’ T cells are collected before start of, or during, chemotherapy without interruption of treatment.
Put very simply, this particular therapy consists of attacking tumor cells with the patient’s own T cells, which are genetically engineered to recognize mesothelin, a protein heavily expressed in mesothelioma. In addition, some of the patients also received pembrolizumab (known commercially as Keytruda), which our patients will recognize as the drug that further boosts the effectiveness of the immune system against the cancer.
“We are encouraged by these results. With increasing understanding of mesothelioma tumor immunology, we hope to advance the benefits of immunotherapy to mesothelioma patients,” explained Dr. Adusumilli, who is both a clinician and scientist/researcher.
Dr. Adusumilli’s projects have twice been funded by grants by the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation. In 2016, he was the recipient of the Craig Kozicki Memorial Grant funding his study titled CAR T cells with TGF-ß resistant cell-intrinsic strategies for mesothelioma. In 2009, he received the Lance S. Ruble Memorial Grant to study WT-1 targeted adoptive T-cell therapy for malignant pleural mesothelioma.
For more information about this trial and potential eligibility, please contact the Meso Foundation at (703) 879-3820 or firstname.lastname@example.org.