Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center (DF/BWCC) is a certified treatment center for the just approved CAR T-cell therapy, tisagenlecleucel (Kymriah™) for certain lymphoma patients. This treatment was approved today by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for adult patients with relapsed or refractory (r/r) large B-cell lymphoma after two or more lines of systemic therapy including diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), high grade B-cell lymphoma and DLBCL arising from follicular lymphoma.
Kymriah™ is a highly specialized and personalized CAR T-cell therapy that uses specially altered T cells - part of the body’s immune system - to fight the cancer. A sample of the patient’s T cells are collected from the blood and then modified to produce a special structure 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.
“We’re making very important progress and I’m excited and encouraged to be able to provide another option for patients with no other effective treatments,” said Caron A. Jacobson, MD, Medical Director of the Immune Effector Cell Therapy program at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center.
In clinical trials in patients with treatment-resistant or relapsed diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, 53% of patients responded to Kymriah™ with 40% achieving a complete response – no sign of cancer.
Kymriah™ was previously approved for patients who are up to 25 years old with B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). DF/BWCC and Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center are certified treatment centers for KymriahTM for B-cell ALL.
Last year, the FDA-approved another CAR T-cell therapy, Yescarta, for aggressive refractory adult lymphoma. DF/BWCC was the only site in the northeast to offer Yescarta in the clinical trials, and was one of the first centers to offer it after FDA approval. “Offering both Yescarta and Kymriah gives us flexibility and options in treating patients with these very challenging lymphomas,” said Jacobson.
Clinical trials of CAR T-cell therapy for blood cancers such as other types of lymphoma, multiple myeloma, and leukemia are underway at DF/BWCC, and include trials of CAR T-cell therapy earlier in treatment, and in combination with other immunotherapies. Researchers are beginning to explore CAR T-cell therapy for solid tumors as well.