Just thought I would pass this information along as I do a lot of reading on the subject. Remember, this is new technology and it will improve with time (see safety below). Just the fact that they are using this on CML has me excited though it is for those who are in a dire situation.
Laboratory-Treated T Cells in Treating Patients With High-Risk Relapsed Acute Myeloid Leukemia, Myelodysplastic Syndrome, or Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia Previously Treated With Donor Stem Cell Transplant
More on immunotherapy and CML:
Advances in immunotherapy of chronic myeloid leukemia CML.
Tyrosine kinase inhibitors induce sustained disease remissions in chronic myeloid leukemia by exploiting the addiction of this type of leukemia to the activity of the fusion oncogene BCR-ABL. However, these agents fail to eradicate CML stem cells which are ultimately responsible for disease relapses upon treatment discontinuation. Evidence that the immune system can effectively reject CML stem cells potentially leading to patient cure is provided by the experience with patients receiving allogeneic bone marrow transplantations. Compelling evidence indicates that more modern, antigen-specific immunotherapeutic approaches are also feasible and hold strong potential to be clinically effective. Amongst these, particularly promising is the use of autologous dendritic cells pulsed with antigens or direct application of in vitro transcribed RNA encoding for leukemia-associated antigens, since this approach allows to circumvent HLA-restriction of the leukemia-associated T cell epitopes that have been eventually identified. Combining these strategies with monoclonal antibodies, such as anti-CTLA-4 or anti-PD-1, may help to obtain even stronger immune responses and better clinical results. This narrative review addresses this topic by focusing in particular on the cell-based immunotherapeutic strategies for CML and on the issue of the leukemia-associated antigens to be selected for targeting.
For this type of immunotherapy, some T cells are removed from a patient's blood. Then, the cells are changed in a laboratory so they have specific proteins called receptors. These receptors allow those T cells to recognize the cancer cells. The changed T cells are grown in large numbers in the laboratory and returned to the patient's body. Once there, they seek out and destroy cancer cells. This type of therapy is called chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy.
Despite the growing number and length of remissions using CAR T-cell therapy to treat leukemias and lymphomas, key challenges remain—first and foremost, safety. There have been a half-dozen treatment-related deaths in the University of Pennsylvania and Juno trials in the past few years that involve a major side-effect of CAR T-cell therapy called cytokine-release syndrome (CRS). T-cell activation causes the release of inflammatory cytokines, producing symptoms including high fevers, aches, hypotension, and, more rarely, pulmonary edema and neurologic effects such as delirium.