A new early-stage clinical trial focused on an innovative cancer immunotherapy known as CAR-T cell therapy has shown promising signs of a potential cancer treatment that combines immunotherapy with an mRNA vaccine.
Based on the results of Phase 1 human trial, the new experimental treatment appears to be safe & potentially effective in patients with solid tumors.
The study results, presented at the American Association of Cancer Research (AACR) conference on Sunday, showed that CAR-T cells can shrink some solid tumors when given a boost from an mRNA vaccine.
What is CAR-T cell immunotherapy?
Chimeric antigen receptor T cell (CAR-T) treatment involves reprogramming a patient’s own immune system cells to-target their cancer. Known to-be sophisticated & potentially risky treatment, it is tailored to each individual patient. It has been shown in studies to cure some patients. , which is proving to be an innovative new treatment for blood cancer even when other therapies have failed.
However, many studies have failed to-get it to be work safe cancers featuring solid tumors. Indeed, according to John Haanen, an oncologist at the Netherlands Cancer Institute, it has been difficult to devising strategies to get modified T cells to target solid tumor cells. Institute working on the new mRNA study.
The new study
The new therapy will be administered in 2 stages. First, the patient receives standard CAR-T cell treatment, in which designing of the immune cells to target an antigen known as Claudin 6 (CLDN6).
According to New Atlas, previous research has indicated that CLDN6 is a suitable antigen target for solid tumors. This is because it is found on the surface of many types of cancer cells, but not on the surface of healthy cells.
A few days after receiving the CART cells, the patient receives an injection of an mRNA vaccine whose purpose is to stimulate the cellular production of claudin 6. This increase in extra antigen causes the modified T cells to multiply, and more cancer-targeting T cells mean a greater chance for those cells to attack & eliminating tumors.
In the 1st human trial of the experimental treatment, there have been sixteen patients. the majority of the patients had either testicular or ovarian cancer.
The researchers reported that about 40% of patients developed an inflammatory side effect known as cytokine release syndrome, which is a common side effect of CAR-T cell therapy. In the small study, this excessive immune response was “manageable” and not severe in any patient.
In an interview with STATnews, Haanen explained that 6 of 14 patients had a significant reduction in tumor size.
“I was pretty skeptical at first because CAR-T therapy hadn’t worked on solid tumors before, so we were really excited too-see how metastases went disappeared and the patients got better,” Haanen said.
It should be noted that these are the early results of phase 1. Much more research is needed to determine the optimum approach to use this unique treatment before it can be considered a breakthrough.