NEW ORLEANS – Researchers from the Abramson Cancer Center and Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania will be presenting data on the latest advances in blood cancer research and treatment at the 2022 American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting from December 10-13. Watch this space as embargoes lift during the meeting.
Experts from the Perelman School of Medicine are available to comment on a wide range of cancer research and care topics during the meeting by video call, telephone, or email. To arrange interviews, please contact Meagan Raeke at Meagan.Raeke@pennmedicine.upenn.edu or 267-693-6224.
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Other noteworthy abstracts and presentations from Penn Medicine at ASH include:
- “Epitope Editing” Could Enable Broader Use of CAR T Treatments for Blood Cancers (Abstract 355)
With the help of a technique called “epitope editing,” CAR T therapies might be useful against virtually all blood cancers, according to results to be presented by Nils Wellhausen, a PhD candidate in the laboratories of Saar Gill, MD, PhD, an associate professor of Hematology-Oncology, and Carl June, MD, the Richard W. Vague Professor in Immunotherapy. The research team designed a CAR T therapy that targets the CD45 surface receptor, which is found on most blood cells and virtually all blood cancer cells. To prevent these CD45-targeted CAR T cells from attacking each other—since they too bear the CD45 receptor—the researchers genetically edited the receptor on the CAR T cells to make it unrecognizable by other CAR T cells, but still functional. They edited donor blood stem cells the same way, to allow the stem cells to survive CAR T therapy and seed a new blood cell population in the treated patient. The strategy worked well in a mouse model of acute myeloid leukemia. “This approach offers a proof of principle to treat most blood cancers with a single drug,” Wellhausen said.
Wellhausen will present the findings during an oral abstract session on Saturday, Dec. 10 at 4 p.m. CT in Room 393-396.
- New CAR T Therapy Design is Ready for Clinical Trials Against T Cell Lymphoma (Abstract 662)
An experimental CAR T cell treatment has shown promise against T cell lymphomas in early studies, and is set for initial clinical trials, according to a presentation by Ruchi Patel, a PhD candidate in the laboratory of Marco Ruella, PhD, an assistant professor of Hematology-Oncology. The new treatment targets the CD5 surface protein, which is found on most T cell cancers. The anti-CD5 CAR T cells have their own CD5s knocked out, to prevent “fratricidal” attacks from other CAR T cells. The cellular product also contains the patient’s own T cells, which also undergo the CD5-knockout process, so that they will survive the anti-CD5 treatment, providing the patient some immunity until their normal T cell population recovers. The new approach was effective in mouse models of T cell lymphomas.
Patel will present the findings during an oral abstract session on Sunday, Dec. 11 at 4:45 p.m. CT in Room 220-222.
- Observational Study Suggests CAR T Therapy Effective Against Lymphoma in People Living with HIV (Abstract 763)
People living with HIV are at higher risk of lymphomas, yet they were excluded from the clinical trials that led to the approval of CAR T cell therapies for treating lymphomas. Now, data gathered from clinical centers around the United States suggests that these therapies are just as effective in this patient population as they are in people without HIV, according to a presentation by Stefan K. Barta MD, an associate professor of Hematology-Oncology. Barta and colleagues analyzed reports from 13 clinical centers on 21 patients with HIV who received anti-CD19 CAR T therapies against B cell lymphomas. The study was a collaboration between the National Cancer Institute-supported AIDS Malignancy Consortium, of which Barta serves as executive officer, and the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research. “In the largest observational study of people living with HIV treated with CD19-directed CAR T cells, the therapy appears safe and effective, similar to reports in patients without HIV,” Barta said.
Barta will present updated findings during an oral abstract session on Monday, Dec. 12 at 10:30 a.m. CT in Room 393-396.
- Presidential Symposium on mRNA Vaccines for COVID-19 and Emerging Applications of mRNA Technology
Messenger RNA innovator Drew Weissman, MD, PhD, the Roberts Family Professor of Vaccine Research, will close out the meeting as the Presidential Symposium speaker on Tuesday, Dec. 13 at 11 a.m. CT in Hall E.
Penn Medicine experts also collaborated on two practice-changing studies that will be presented as late-breaking abstracts:
- Consolidation Therapy with Blinatumomab Improves Overall Survival in Newly Diagnosed Adult Patients with B-Lineage Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in Measurable Residual Disease Negative Remission: Results from the ECOG-ACRIN E1910 Randomized Phase III National Cooperative Clinical Trials Network Trial (Abstract LBA1)
Co-author Selina Luger, MD, professor of Hematology-Oncology, is chair of the ECOG-ACRIN Leukemia Committee.
- Post-Transplant Cyclophosphamide, Tacrolimus, and Mycophenolate Mofetil As the New Standard for Graft-Versus-Host Disease Prophylaxis in Reduced Intensity Conditioning: Results from Phase III Bone & Marrow Transplant Clinical Trials Network (BMT CTN) 1703 (Abstract LBA4)
Alison Loren, MD, chair of Hematology-Oncology, is a co-author and Edward Stadtmauer, MD, professor of Hematology-Oncology, is chair of the BMT CTN Steering Committee.
Editor’s Note: The University of Pennsylvania holds equity in viTToria Biotherapeutics. Ruella is the scientific founder of and an equity holder in viTToria Biotherapeutics, and holds patents and receives royalties related to CD519 CAR T cells. Patel has consulted for viTToria Biotherapeutics.
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