The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) has named adoptive cell immunotherapy as their clinical cancer Advance of the Year.
Released today ahead of World Cancer Day, their report – Clinical Cancer Advances 2018: ASCO’s 13th Annual Report on Progress Against Cancer – emphasizes the impressive advancements that have been made in both adoptive cell immunotherapy and precision medicine.
“Adoptive cell immunotherapy, allows clinicians to genetically reprogram patients’ own immune cells to find and attack cancer cells throughout the body. CAR T-cell therapy—a type of adoptive cell immunotherapy—has led to remarkable results in young patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia and in adults with lymphoma and multiple myeloma. Researchers are also exploring this approach in other types of cancer,” explained ASCO President Bruce E Johnson.
In August 2017, the FDA approved the first adoptive cell immunotherapy (also known as CAR T-cell therapy) and the first gene therapy for cancer, tisagenlecleucel. Later on in the year, the FDA approved the second CAR T-cell therapy, axicabtagene ciloleucel, to treat adults with certain types of large B-cell lymphoma. The report states that: “CAR T-cell therapy represents an exciting innovation that has the potential to transform cancer care.”
Another major theme in this years report is precision medicine. Key advancements observed in this field over the last year include pembrolizumab becoming the first cancer treatment to receive tumor-agnostic indication as well as accelerated approval to treat any type of solid tumor that has mismatch repair deficiency, a defect that undermines the cell’s ability to repair DNA damage.
Another promising treatment, larotrectinib, which homes in on a different, rare genomic abnormality in the tumor known as tropomyosin receptor kinase (TRK) gene fusion, also seems to work across tumor types and in both adults and children. Larotrectinib has the potential to become the first tumor-agnostic targeted therapy for cancer.