Updates on CAR-T Therapy Out of This Year’s American Society of Clinical Oncology Meeting 

 June 24, 2022

At each annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, researchers have an opportunity to reveal their latest findings having to do with CAR-T therapy. The latest ASCO meeting took place June 3-7 this year. Here are details on this year’s updates from ASCO.

CAR-T Therapy Studies Unveiled at ASCO 2022

The ASCO provides a world forum for organizations to give details about their work in fighting cancer, which today often includes using chimeric antigen receptor or CAR-T therapy. It involves genetically adapting a person’s immune system T cells, so they can identify cancer cells based on certain antigen proteins on their surface.

Once the patient’s cells have been enhanced in a lab, a technician infuses them into his blood, where they circulate to makes the immune system more responsive against cancer. Biopharma Dive reported on the latest news of companies employing CAR-T therapy in their research efforts:

Gilead Reports a Setback in New Cancer Drug

Not all medical research reports are going to be rosy success stories. A case in point is Gilead. Unfortunately for Gilead, as noted by Biopharma Dive, “Analysts and investors were eagerly awaiting the details of a key study of the breast cancer drug Trodelvy, for which it paid $21 billion to acquire last year. Updates were also expected for magrolimab, another cancer medicine Gilead recently bought in a large deal.” But the results they presented at ASCO were less than stellar.

For Trodelvy, which was designed to lead a 45-day improvement in outcomes for chemotherapy as a measurement of late-stage tumor progression studies (for patients diagnosed with a common form of breast cancer that metastasizes). The two-month target that doctors anticipated actually fell short.

At the same time, competitor companies Daiichi Sankyo and AstraZeneca showed such promise with new data for HER2 low tumors resulted in the audience giving them a standing ovation for their announcement of results at ASCO for a breast cancer drug called Enhertu.

The company’s magrolimab drug, designed to combat blood cancer, had been slowed down the previous year because of some safety concerns. The beginning data indicated a 50% response rate when chemotherapy was combined with magrolimab, for patients with early-stage myelodysplastic syndrome. But the rate has now plummeted to 33% with the latest data, so the drug is not deemed to exceed by very much the rate of success when doctors use chemotherapy alone, per Biopharma Dive.

Researchers Note New Alternatives to Standard CAR-T Therapy

It’s no secret that for some time now, large and prominent pharmaceutical companies have been harnessing CAR-T therapy to help patients with previously untreatable disorders. But the manufacturing process is complex and rife with pitfalls that can delay bringing treatments into clinics.

Bristol Meyers and Johnson & Johnson have been finding it difficult to keep up with demand for their products, which is putting a damper on doctors using them as therapy for their cancer patients.

They are now also working on alternatives to standard CAR-T approaches. This means that scientists are looking for different methods to get immune cells from a patient to target his or her cancer cells more precisely and effectively.

Roche and Johnson & Johnson both reported new updated clinical data to show progress on their new therapies for treating lymphoma and for multiple myeloma.

Stay Tuned for Future ASCO Conference Reports

With the American Society of Clinical Oncology being such a crucial focal point for cancer researchers and other industry insiders to gather and exchange information, it’s a good idea to keep tabs on reports from the conferences each year. Annual updates from ASCO meetings are a valuable source of insight into groundbreaking medical approaches such as CAR-T therapy.


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