WVU Cancer Institute offers new immune therapy

WVU Cancer Institute offers new immune therapy

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The WVU Cancer Institute Osborn Hematopoietic Malignancy and Transplantation Program has expanded its ability to offer chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CAR-T) therapy to patients with relapsed or refractory mantle cell lymphoma.

Abraham Kanate, M.D.
Abraham Kanate, M.D.

The Institute is now able to offer Tecartus from pharmaceutical company Kite, owned by Gilead. This one-time therapy is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with a response rate of 87 percent.

“The addition of this product will allow us to treat a patient population that is ineligible to receive our previously available therapy,” Abraham Kanate, M.D., associate professor of medicine, said. “This technology is constantly evolving and being approved for the treatment of new conditions. We are fortunate to have already been an approved site for the use of CAR-T therapy, allowing us to quickly implement this treatment.”

The WVU Cancer Institute has offered CAR-T, a form of immunotherapy that harnesses the patient’s own immune system to fight malignant cancer, since 2018 when it became a certified site for the use of Kymriah from pharmaceutical company Novartis.

“This isn’t a front-line therapy,” Dr. Kanate said. “This treatment is for patients who have not responded to other forms of treatment, such as chemotherapy or radiation, or whose cancer has relapsed. It is an intensive treatment that is often a last option, though we hope to be able to provide it as an early intervention in the future.”

CAR T-cell therapy is performed by collecting the patient’s own T-cells and sending them to the manufacturer that genetically engineers the cells into the CAR-T therapy to fight the CD19 antigen on cancer cells and eradicate the disease. The therapy is infused into the patient, and he or she is monitored for side effects. Patients are required to stay within 30 minutes of J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital for the first 30 days after infusion so they may receive treatment when side effects occur.

The WVU Cancer Institute has scheduled the first patients to receive the therapy.
According to Kanate, the WVU Cancer Institute anticipates approval to provide another form of CAR-T therapy offered by Bristol Myers Squibb in early 2021.

For more information on the WVU Cancer Institute, visit WVUMedicine.org/Cancer

For more information: Heather Bonecutter, Communications Specialist, 304-285-7256