A recently completed phase I trial conducted by researchers at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer center has shown a safe and positive response in mesothelioma patients, according to a report published in the journal Cancer Discovery. After scientists administered chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CAR-T) therapy followed by Keytruda, 83 percent of patients were alive one year later.
Therapy Halts Aggressive Mesothelioma Cells
According to Prasad S. Adusumilli, MD, FACS FCCP, head of solid tumors cell therapy for the Cellular Therapeutics Center and director of the mesothelioma program at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, the new approach was designed to target an aggressive mesothelin antigen. “Previous research has indicated that the [mesothelin] antigen imparts aggressiveness to the cancer and its expression on normal tissue is very low, so we selected mesothelin as our target.”
A notable aspect of the approach being used is that the researchers are applying the therapy directly into the chest cavity of mesothelioma patients rather than dosing systemically. “We thought, why not introduce the CAR T cells directly into the chest cavity where the tumor is?” Adusumilli said. “We know from the published literature and our own research that if we administer CAR T cells intravenously, they get stuck in the lungs for about 4 to 5 days and, by the time they reach the tumor, they cannot enter it with sufficient numbers.”
Participants in Phase I Study Included Mesothelioma Patients
The researchers tested the new protocol on a group of 18 patients who had previously been diagnosed with and been treated for malignant pleural mesothelioma, metastatic lung cancer, or metastatic breast cancer. Each received at least one intrapleural infusion of mesothelin-directed CAR T cells followed by a dose of Keytruda.
Median overall survival was 23.9 months, with a one-year overall survival rate of 83 percent. Two patients had a metabolic complete response to the therapy, and nine had stable disease. The results were considered promising, though the scientists note that the patients selected for the study were selected based on criteria indicating the ability to wait for CAR-T cells to be manufactured.
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma, results like those in this study are extremely encouraging. For information on other state-of-the-art treatment protocols, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net today at 1-800-692-8608.