There’s good news for the treatment of multiple myeloma, an incurable cancer. A first-of-its-kind phase 1 clinical trial, the UNIVERSAL trial, showed that CAR T-cell products can be developed from donor cells to safely treat the disease.
Typically, CAR T-cell therapy uses a patient’s own cells (autologous). But not all patients are healthy enough to provide suitable cell material, and producing the cells for therapy can take a long time.
In the trial, 43 adult patients with multiple myeloma that had relapsed (come back) or hadn’t responded to treatment received allogeneic (cells from a donor) CAR T-cell therapy from a product called ALLO-715. All patients also received a drug to help prepare the body to accept the CAR T-cells called ALLO-647.
Fifty-six percent of patients responded to treatment, and 35% had a very good partial response.
Because donor cells were used, patients waited only five days (median time) to start treatment. That’s excellent news – it can take two to eight weeks to create a therapeutic amount of CAR T-cells from a patient’s own cells. Donor cells, on the other hand, could be developed and available off-the-shelf for treatment when the patient is ready. A lengthy wait for aggressive, relapsed multiple myeloma can delay much-needed therapy at a critical time.
While the trial focused on determining ALLO-715’s safety and dosing, early signs show this could be a safe and timely therapy for a condition that is sorely in need of treatment options. Multiple myeloma patients can’t afford delays. Any safe treatment that can be delivered without long waits is very good news.
Learn more by reviewing a comprehensive analysis and description of the study.