No Lack of Enthusiasm for CAR-T Development, Experts Say

Robert H. Carlson, MBA


November 30, 2016

In This Article

Exciting Responses, for a Minority of Patients

"We've heard at this meeting—and it's repeated by people who are using immune checkpoint inhibitors, such as PD-1 or CTLA-4 for melanoma—that there are more and more long-term survivors, and more and more patients coming to follow-up," Dr Yee said. "That's obviously a good sign."

But the response rates for checkpoint inhibitors are only 30%-40% in the advanced tumors. And although CAR-T is far more specific, response rates are not much higher.

"When this approach fails in 60% of patients, we can't be complacent," Dr Yee said. "But that's still enough to get people excited. In such diseases as advanced refractory non-small cell lung cancer or melanoma—where long-term survival is not seen except for a very, very small fraction of patients—immunotherapy has raised that plateau significantly."

That plateau also represents a durable response, and in some cases a small fraction of patients have been cured who were incurable before.

"Next we'll be seeing a synergy of sorts in academic and industry partnerships; that's becoming more and more relevant as a means to move the field forward as quickly and as safely as possible," Dr Yee said.


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