What are Yescarta, Kymriah, and Tecartus?
Yescarta, Kymriah, and Tecartus are types of cellular therapy called CAR T-cell therapy. CAR T-cell therapy uses specially altered T cells — a part of the immune system — to fight cancer. A sample of a patient's T cells are collected from the blood, then
modified to produce special structures called chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) on their surface. When these CAR T cells are reinfused into the patient, the new receptors enable them to latch onto a specific antigen on the patient's tumor cells and
kill them. Learn more about how CAR T-cell therapy works.
Clinical trials of Yescarta showed that 82 percent of patients with treatment-resistant or relapsed aggressive non-Hodgkin lymphoma responded to the CAR T-cell therapy, including 54 percent who had a complete response (i.e. no sign of cancer). In the
latest data report, 40 percent remained in complete remission a median of 15.4 months after treatment.
In clinical trials of Kymriah for lymphoma, patients had strong responses. 53 percent of patients responded to treatment, and 40 percent achieved a complete response (i.e. no sign of cancer).
In clinical trials of Tecartus, 87 percent of patients responded to the CAR T-cell therapy, including 62 percent who had a complete response (i.e., no sign of cancer).
How do Kymriah, Yescarta, and Tecartus compare?
Kymriah, Yescarta, and Tecartus are CAR T-cell therapies targeting CD19, an antigen that is prevalent in the cells of many B-cell malignancies including many types of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. These therapies demonstrated strong responses from patients in clinical trials and have been approved by the FDA as standard of care for relapsed/refractory patients. They differ in which types of lymphoma they treat, as well as in the way that the CAR (chimeric antigen receptor) is designed to activate the T cell response to attack the cancer.
Kymriah and Yescarta are approved for patients with relased/refractory DLBCL, primary mediastinal large B cell lymphoma, high grade B-cell lymphoma, and transformed follicular lymphoma to DLBCL. Tecartus is approved for patients with relapsed/refractory mantle cell lymphoma.
Who is eligible to receive these approved CAR T-cell therapies?
These CAR T therapies are appropriate for some patients with some forms of aggressive non-Hodgkin lymphoma who have not responded to at least two prior lines of therapy (refractory). This may include patients with diffuse large B cell lymphoma, primary
mediastinal B-cell lymphoma, high grade B-cell lymphoma, transformed follicular lymphoma, and mantle cell lymphoma.
As a first step, ask your oncologist for a referral to DF/BWCC's Adult Lymphoma Program to determine if CAR T-cell therapy is an appropriate approach to your care. All patients must have a physician referral. Contact us at 877-801-CART (2278).
Where are these therapies available?
Because CAR T-cell therapy is a highly specialized and highly personalized treatment, it is available at a limited number of specialized cancer centers. DF/BWCC is an authorized center for Kymriah, Yescarta, and Tecartus.
Will my insurance cover this new treatment?
Coverage is reviewed on a case-by-case basis, as is typical for new therapies. We work with patients and insurers to seek health insurance coverage for clinically-eligible patients.
What if CAR T-cell therapy isn't right for me? What are my options?
Another option may be to participate in a clinical trial. At DF/BWCC, our lymphoma program offers a wide range of clinical trials exploring several new treatment options. This includes other CAR T-cell therapies, as well as other promising treatments.
Your clinical team will work with you to determine if a clinical trial is an option for you.
For more information, read our general Frequently Asked Questions About CAR T-cell Therapy.