CAR T-Cell Therapy Update From ASH 2017 | Patient Power

A good summary of the current state of CAR-T. This is an interview with Dr. David Maloney of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center, conducted by medical journalist and CLL survivor Andrew Schorr, founder of the website “Patient Power”. (As it happens, a friend of ours was one of Dr. Maloney’s earliest fNHL CAR-T patients in summer of 2015.)


CAR-T and Medicare

The $373k price tag for Gilead/Kite’s FDA-approved CAR-T therapy has been a controversial issue from the outset. Now, Bloomberg reporter Michelle Cortez (whom we’ve mentioned before) has contributed to two stories this week regarding some fatal(!) delays in CAR-T coverage from Medicare. As lymphoma is a disease that often afflicts older people, there are sure to be many individuals who will be over 65 and dependent on Medicare when the time comes to seek a potentially curative treatment:

Months After Approval, Breakthrough Cancer Drug Given to Just Five Patients – Bloomberg

Novel Cancer Drug Gets Stymied by Medicare Rigid Billing System – Bloomberg

#ASH17: The big loser in CAR-T, Juno is making a bid to seize the fast lane to frontrunner status – ENDPOINTS NEWS

Juno Therapeutics may have lost the initial race for FDA approval of CAR-T (to Novartis and Gilead [Kite]), but they are preparing to demonstrate at December’s ASH 17 conference (American Society of Hematology), that theirs is the superior CAR-T therapy:

The analogy I’ll give you,” says R&D chief Sunil Agarwal: “Small changes in the antibody world can make big differences; all CARs are not the same… I think these data continue to support a best-in-class profile.”

(FYI, The CAR-T therapy I underwent at MSK in 2015 was in partnership with Juno, although the protocol was not JCAR017)

Novartis asks FDA to expand Kymriah’s use against blood cancer

The logical next step in the evolution of CAR-T has occurred. Novartis’ Kymriah has already been approved for leukemia, while Gilead’s (originally Kite’s) Yescarta has been approved for diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL). Now Novartis has filed for approval of Kymriah for DLBCL as well: