Adverse Events in CAR T-Cell Therapies: Joseph A. Fraietta, PhD


The director of the Solid Tumor Immunotherapy Lab at the University of Pennsylvania discussed safety concerns with CAR T-cell therapies.

“I think we're going to be able to touch solid tumor indications in the very near future. The outlook is really bright...I think CAR T cells are going to become a staple in immunooncology and modern medicine and hopefully, offer curative treatment options for patients with these refractory malignancies.”

While chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy has the potential to cure many previously incurable diseases, T-cell exhaustion remains a barrier to eliciting deep and durable responses in some patients. Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, including Joseph A. Fraietta, PhD, found that JQ1, a small-molecule inhibitor currently used to treat a variety of cancers, “reinvigorates” patient T cells and thus can address the issue of exhausted T cells.

GeneTherapyLive spoke with Fraietta, who is an assistant professor of microbiology and director of the Solid Tumor Immunotherapy Lab at the Center for Advanced Cellular Therapies, about his findings as well as his work with CAR T-cell therapies in general. He discussed adverse events seen with the use of CAR T-cell therapies, including cytokine release syndrome and neurotoxicity, and improvements in clinical management strategies.

Despite recent safety concerns, Fraietta’s outlook on CAR T-cell therapies remains positive, he said, stating that CAR T-cell therapies are the future for both hematologic malignancies and solid tumors.

Existing drug may help improve responses to cellular therapies in advanced leukemias. News release. University of Pennsylvania. August 16, 2021.
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