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CAR T-cell therapy makes its mark in CLL

Patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) have already benefitted immensely from the development and clinical application of CAR T-cell therapies, and investigators are aiming to fill remaining unmet needs by refining optimal administration practices, according to David L. Porter, MD, in an article published at OncLive®.

Patients with CLL were some of the very first patients we treated with CAR T-cell therapy here at the University of Pennsylvania back in 2010, Porter said.

– So, we have a long experience with these agents. We have follow-up now of over 13 years in some of our initial patients who were treated.

In March 2024, lisocabtagene maraleucel (liso-cel; Breyanzi) became the first CAR T-cell therapy to be approved by the FDA for the treatment of patients with CLL or small lymphocytic lymphoma, gaining approval in patients who received at least 2 prior lines of treatment, including a BTK inhibitor and a BCL-2 inhibitor. The approval was supported by findings from the phase 1/2 TRANSCEND CLL 004 study (NCT03331198) which showed patients treated with liso-cel (n = 65) achieved a complete response (CR) rate of 20% (95% CI, 11.1%- 31.8%). Notably, the median duration of response (DOR) was not reached (NR; 95% CI, 15 months-NR) at the data cutoff; the 12- and 18-month DOR rates were 100% and 87.5% (95% CI, 38.7%-98.1%), respectively.

In an interview with OncLive®, Porter, the director of the Center for Cell Therapy and Transplant, as well as the Jodi Fisher Horowitz Professor in Leukemia Care Excellence at Penn Medicine in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, discussed the highlights from a presentation he gave during the 2024 Vanderbilt Stem Cell Transplant and Cellular Therapy Symposium in May regarding the current standing of CAR T-cell therapy in the CLL treatment paradigm as well as the unmet needs and future research avenues in the space.

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