Michael S. Sabel, MD
Marcela Maus, MD, PhD
"We are now seeing the merger of immunotherapy with precision medicine. This is the epitome of personalized medicine,” said ASCO-invited expert Michael S. Sabel, MD, Chief of the Division of Surgical Oncology at University of Michigan Health Systems, Ann Arbor. He called the effort to target B-cell maturation antigen (BCMA) “revolutionary science.”
Invited discussant Marcela Maus, MD, PhD, of Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center and Harvard Medical School, Boston, was encouraged by the data for both the BCMA-based chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell constructs. She noted that in small patient cohorts, a third BCMA-targeted product, from the University of Pennsylvania, has produced a 44% response rate, and one developed at the National Cancer Institute has yielded a 30% response rate.
The 100% response rate and 74% complete response rate achieved with the Chinese construct are “impressive,” she said, but she wanted to know more about the treatment and the study, especially the number and types of prior treatments, the T-cell composition and dose, and patients’ response evaluation beyond serum immunoglobulin G levels and light chains.
In a lecture during the ASCO Meeting, Carl June, MD, Director of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy at the University of Pennsylvania, described how this field has exploded. Dr. June’s research team alone has treated 468 patients with CAR T-cell therapy. The effort is becoming increasingly global, he said. Of the 183 clinical trials currently underway, he noted, “there are more in China than in the United States.” ■
DISCLOSURE: Drs. Sabel, Maus, and June reported no conflicts of interest.