David Porter, MD, on the Importance of Collaboration for Investigating Cell Therapy in Autoimmune Disease


The director of cell therapy and transplant at Penn Medicine discussed the seminar he gave at the inaugural Cell Therapy for Autoimmune Disease Summit.

“We're very used to working within a group of oncologists, hematologists, and blood and marrow transplant physicians to treat patients with cancer. But historically, our cell therapy group doesn't necessarily work with the physicians and their staff that treat autoimmune diseases: the rheumatologists, the nephrologists, dermatologists, neurologists, etc. We certainly have relationships—we know each other, and we share patients back and forth—but we don't have the same experience having a joint program.”

Chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CAR-T) therapy has been used to treat patients in the oncology space for about 13 years now. As such, it has a relatively well-established safety profile and there are many oncologists and hematologists who have experience with these and other cell therapies either in standard practice or in the context of clinical trials. Although, as cell therapy becomes an emerging modality of interest in the field of autoimmune disease, many new doctors, healthcare professionals, caregivers, and patients who have no prior experience with cell therapy in oncology will need to be brought into the fold.

David Porter, MD, the director of cell therapy and transplant at Penn Medicine, gave a talk on this topic entitled “Developing a CAR-T for Autoimmune Disease Clinical Program Effectively” at the Cell Therapy for Autoimmune Disease Summit, held November 28-30, 2023, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. During the seminar, he emphasized the importance of sharing of knowledge between those with experience in cell therapy, who mostly come from oncology and hematology backgrounds, and those with experience in autoimmune disease.

In an interview with CGTLive™ held shortly after the talk, Porter, who is an oncologist, discussed the key takeaways of his presentation. He highlighted the importance of centering safety as clinical evaluations of cell therapy in autoimmune disease are initiated. Porter also noted that education and collaboration between groups from different areas of expertise will be of critical importance on these clinical trials.

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