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Biotech Innovations
June 11, 2019

Safer CAR T-Cell Therapy

JAMA. 2019;321(22):2155. doi:10.1001/jama.2019.7551

None of the 25 patients with refractory B cell lymphoma who received a modified anti-CD19 chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy in a phase 1 trial experienced serious neurological toxicity or cytokine-release syndrome, researchers recently reported in Nature Medicine.

These life-threatening adverse effects are difficult and costly to manage and represent the biggest barrier to clinical use of CAR T-cell therapy, according to the study’s senior author, Si-Yi Chen, MD, PhD, of the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine. The neurological toxicities associated with approved CAR T-cell therapies include encephalopathy, seizures, and altered consciousness, while cytokine-release syndrome is marked by severe flu-like symptoms, shortness of breath, low blood pressure, and fast heart rate.