Dr. Boccia on Managing Adverse Events With CAR T-Cell Therapy

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Ralph Boccia, MD, an oncologist at the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders, associate clinical professor at Georgetown University, discusses managing adverse events associated with chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy.

Ralph Boccia, MD, an oncologist at the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders, associate clinical professor at Georgetown University, discusses managing adverse events (AEs) associated with chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy.

CAR T-cell therapy has been a game changer in terms of treating various types of leukemia, but it does have some AEs, such as cytokine release syndrome (CRS). Oncologists are developing strategies to mitigate those effects. Oncologists learned early about CRS with CAR T-therapy that could result in toxicity and neurologic problems. There are keys or clues to the development of CRS, namely, fever, says Boccia. One way oncologists have been able to mitigate this is to recognize CRS early and get the patient started on tocilizumab (Actemra), which would block some of the effects.

Oncologists also have a strategy of grading the degree of CRS and knowing exactly when to implement that drug that would block AEs.

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