Penn study points to why T-cell therapy fails in some patients – Philly

Why don’t some blood cancer patients respond to T cell therapy, while others experience breathtaking remissions? University of Pennsylvania researchers may have figured out the answer.
– Marie McCullough, Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News
— Read on


My lymphoma takes a back seat…

Sorry things have been rather quiet here lately, but I have to confess I’ve been less interested in following CAR-T and Follicular Lymphoma events for the past several months, and the reason is this: Last May, I was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer.

Fortunately, prostate cancer is a slow-growing cancer, allowing time to explore several options, including “active surveillance”, a.k.a. “watch-and-wait” (sound familiar, fellow fNHL survivors?).

Unfortunately, my “watch-and-wait” period proved short-lived, as a February biopsy showed progression to what is known as a Gleason 7, meaning treatment of some sort was now necessary to eradicate the cancer before it could spread outside the prostate.

I opted for a full prostatectomy rather than radiation (I was told they’re equally effective), and I had the surgery on April 4. I’m pleased to report that everything has gone much better than I expected, and my health is almost fully restored just 10 days later.

Two days ago I received the pathology report of the surgery. Four lymph nodes were removed for biopsy along with the prostate, and fortunately they showed no cancer. I suppose it is bonus information that there were no active lymphoma cells in the lymph nodes either. Thus the remission from my July 2015 CAR-T infusion continues!

During my exploration of options last summer, one radiologist mentioned to me that it was her belief that my prostate cancer took hold during the period when I was immunocompromised, as a result of several treatments leading up to my CAR-T infusion. No one else mentioned this, but I believe it has some merit. I think this is another reason fNHL patients should seek the minimum treatment necessary to achieve a reasonable remission — the risk of developing a secondary cancer. I’d be interested to read risk assessments of the various treatments available insofar as secondary cancers. The disease I seem to see most often is Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS), which has been described as a “pre-leukemia”.

Of course, prostate cancer is a relatively common cancer anyway for men over 60 (which I’m about to become), so perhaps all my prior treatments did was to speed things up by a few years.

Anyway, I’m happy to report that I’m ready to resume tracking current events regarding CAR-T as I encounter them. This blog’s partner-in-crime William (Bill) has been doing this reliably the entire time. I hope to begin to take a more active role along with him in the months ahead.

Best in Health to all of you!

— Ben

Global CAR T Therapy Trial Shows High Rates of Durable Remission for Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

The New England Journal of Medicine published these data today [December 11, 2017]. Among 28 patients who received the therapy in the single-site pilot trial after their cancers had come back following standard treatments, 43 percent of DLBCL patients achieved complete remission, as did 71 percent of patients with follicular lymphoma, the second most common form of the disease. All patients who were in remission at six months are still in remission, after a median follow-up of 28.6 months.


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.)