Donor-derived lymphocytes attack a patient’s cancer — but may attack the patient as well. Donor chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells, on the other hand, brought remissions without this troubling complication.
CAR T cells continue to make waves: At the latest annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, it was announced that CAR T cells, in which T cells from a patient are genetically reprogrammed to target cancer cells, removed all traces of cancer in the bone marrow of 27 out of 29 acute lymphoblastic leukemia patients. Nineteen of 30 individuals with non-Hodgkin lymphoma also responded in the form of partial or complete responses. The cumulative successes found in CAR T cell studies have labeled them “extraordinary.”