Both patients had chronic lymphocytic leukemia, a relatively common form of the disease that accounts for about a quarter of new leukemia diagnoses.
Patients benefited from a treatment called chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CAR-T) therapy, or simply CAR-T therapy. This form of immunotherapy consists of using a virus to reprogram the genetic code of certain immune cells of the patient in the laboratory, to encourage them to recognize, attack and destroy cancer cells.
After ten years of remission, one of the study’s authors, Dr. Carl June of the University of Pennsylvania, is quick to claim that CAR-T therapy has the potential to cure leukemia.
CAR-T cells remain detectable in patients’ bodies ten years after transplantation, researchers say in the journal Natureand they continue to keep watch.
Ten years is a magic numbercommented Dr. Simon Turcotte, a cancer specialist at the University of Montreal Hospital Center (CHUM).politically correct\”, we are talking about a lasting complete response.”,”text”:”It is an expert consensus for several cancers. If there has been no recurrence within ten years, we allow ourselves to talk about healing. If we want to be more \”politically correct\”, we talk about a sustainable comprehensive response.”}}”>This is an expert consensus for several cancers. If there has been no recurrence in ten years, we allow ourselves to speak of a cure. If we want to be morepolitically correct“, we are talking about a sustainable comprehensive response.
But the risk of a return of the cancer is always presenthe pointed out.
The patient originally had billions of cancer cells in his body; if only one is forgotten, if only one is not destroyed by treatment, the disease may returnsaid Dr. Turcotte.
For certain types of cancer, for certain types of immunotherapy, that’s okay. But if we want to be even more careful, we could speak of a prolonged complete response with a very low risk of recurrence.
Despite its seemingly remarkable efficacy, chimeric antigen receptor T cell therapy is not without danger and can be accompanied by potentially very serious and even fatal side effects.
However, it is part of the second wave of immunotherapy that is sweeping the medical world and opening the door to previously unimaginable therapies.
It happened first for hematological tumorsnoted Dr. Turcotte.
Now it’s growing at full speed for solid tumors. It prolongs life. When the response is deep, it is associated with long-lasting complete responses. There is a potential for [guérison] rarely seen with chemotherapy, surgery or radiation therapy. This is definitely a big step in cancer treatment. You haven’t heard of it yet.