According to the study, ‘PERIPHERAL T-CELL LYMPHOMAS (PTCL) GLOBAL CLINICAL TRIALS REVIEW, H1, 2018’, cancer treatment around the world is improving rapidly and lymphatic cancer is no exception despite the exact causes of peripheral T-cell lymphoma being currently unknown. However, the cancer is believed to be associated with the exposure to viruses such as the human T-cell leukemia virus-1 (HTLV-1). Presently available treatment includes chemotherapy, localized radiotherapy, stem cell transplants and steroid therapy. New treatment options are also being explored and experimented. Understanding the causes of PTCL has been a major contributor to this new development.
Lymphoma is a cancer of the lymphatic system which affects a type of white blood cell known as lymphocytes that help fight diseases in the body. T-cell is a type of white blood cell that is of key importance to the immune system that triggers the body’s response to certain pathogens. A similar lymphocyte called Natural Killer (NK) cell shares many features with T-cells. When NK cells become cancerous, the cancer is called NK or T-cell lymphoma and develops in lymphoid tissue such as the lymph nodes and spleen. Peripheral T-cell lymphoma (PTCL) is defined as a diverse group of aggressive lymphomas that develop from mature stage white blood cells called T-cells and NK cells.
In May 2018, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) announced chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy as Advance of The Year for 2018. CAR T-cell therapy is a type of treatment in which a patient’s T-cells are changed in the laboratory such that they will attack cancer cells. T-cells are taken from a patient’s blood and then the gene for a special receptor that binds to the CD-19 protein on the cancer cells is added in the laboratory. This special receptor is called CAR. Large numbers of CAR T-cells are grown in the laboratory and are given to the patient by infusion.
In 2017 also there were major triumphs for this technology as the year saw some major developments regarding the same. Two CAR T-cell therapies were approved by the US FDA, one for the treatment of children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia and the other for adults with advanced lymphomas. These clinical successes are part of a rapidly emerging immunotherapy approach which is called adoptive cell transfer (ACT) which is collecting and altering the patient’s own immune cells to treat their cancer. There are several types of ACT but the one that has advanced the furthest in clinical development is CAR T-cell therapy.
This approach is currently being seen as a means to transform cancer care as it represents an exciting innovation. CAR T-cell therapy is clinically the most advanced of the adoptive cell transfer (ACT) class of immunotherapy and has primarily been used in patients with advanced blood cancer. Nevertheless, researchers are still developing the field of ACT in order to expand their effectiveness against solid tumors such as breast and colorectal cancer. Immunotherapy is continuously innovating and developments like CAR T-cells cement this fact with present operative capacity in lymphatic sectors. Many more CAR T-cell clinical trials are currently underway and further substantial progress is expected in the next few years.
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Ankur Gupta, Head Marketing & Communications