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Potential promise with T cell immunotherapy for pancreatic cancer

Background

Pancreatic cancer is one of the most challenging types of cancer to treat, but new therapy using the body’s own immune system is providing new hope.

Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine presented preliminary results from a phase I clinical trial at the American Association of Cancer Research conference on Immune Cell Therapies for Cancer, held on July 19-22.

Several patients with pancreatic adenocarcinoma who received the nonengineered T-cell therapy showed signs of tumor shrinkage or disease stabilization.

About the trial

The trial is collaboration between Baylor’s researchers in the lab and doctors in the clinic. The research team used the patient’s own blood to generate large numbers of T cells that recognize five tumor-associated antigens (PRAME, SSX2, MAGEA4, NY-ESO-1, and Survivin). From there, these T-cells were infused back into the patient to target and kill cancer cells.

The Results

Patients were separated into three groups:

Arm A – Nine patients who were responding to first-line chemotherapy treatment.

In this group – One patient experienced a complete response, two patients experienced partial responses, and four patients experienced stable disease. One patient experienced a mixed response, and one patient experienced disease progression.

Researchers observed overall tumor volume shrinkage in six of the patients.

Arm B – Six patients whose disease progressed after first-line chemotherapy.

In this group – Two patients experienced clinical disease stabilization for up to two months, and one patient has maintained stable disease for seven months and ongoing. Three patients experienced clinical decline.

Arm C – Three patients whose tumor could be surgically removed and they received one T-cell therapy infusion before surgery and several infusions after surgery.

In this group – All patients showed an increase of the infused T cells and significant increase of the body’s own T cells.

Patients in the trial had no serious adverse effects.

 

The study is currently enrolling in the US.

The best treatment for a cancer patient is to get the most advanced cancer drugs in advanced stages of development. There, the hope and the chance to extend life go far beyond the standard protocols.

 

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