Promising New Trial for Relapsed B-Cell Lymphoma

B cell lymphoma is notoriously unresponsive when it returns after treatment. Scientists at City of Hope are aiming to give patients with relapsed B cell lymphoma another chance at beating cancer in a new trial involving T cells.

Of the 30 types of non-Hodgkin lymphomas, B cell is the most common and one of the most difficult to treat. T cells are a family of white blood cells that can be genetically modified to fight diseases including cancer.

In order to target B cell lymphomas, the new trial will focus on a protein produced inside the lymphoma cells, CD19. In the study, the T cells will be developed to treat lymphoma and will be attracted to the CD19 protein.

“Our use of central memory T cells as part of an autologous transplant is unique to our therapy and sets our approach apart from other T cell treatments in development,” said Stephen J. Forman, chair of City of Hope’s department of Hematology.

“T cells have the potential to establish a persistent, lifelong immunity to help prevent recurrence of lymphoma after transplant.”

The T cells in the study will be obtained from the patient’s own healthy cells. They will then be genetically modified to recognize the CD19 protein and target the lymphoma cells, and then cultured for a few weeks to increase their numbers to a level that can fight the B cell lymphoma in the patient.

The scientists involved in the clinical trial hope that the T cells will become part of a cancer fighting immune system that will develop after transplant and help prevent recurrence of lymphoma. This could be a step toward a cure for relapsed B cell lymphoma.

This study was published in the City of Hope magazine, City News

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