Andras Heczey, MD, on Antitumor Activity of CAR NKTs in Solid Tumors


The director of the Liver Tumor Program at Texas Children’s Hospital discussed a phase 1 study of CAR NK T-cells in neuroblastoma.

"With natural killer T-cells, or NK T cells for short, we have the ability to use a homogeneous population of effector lymphocytes that are able to effectively traffic into the tumor sites better than just conventional T cells... They can recognize cancer supportive tumor associated macrophages... and specifically target them. So that provides a big opportunity for NK T cell-based therapeutics to make a major impact in the treatment of solid tumor patients.”

Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) natural killer (NK) T-cell therapy is well-tolerated with promising responses in patients with neuroblastoma, according to data from a phase 1 study (NCT03294954) presented by Andras Heczey, MD, Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Section of Hematology-Oncology, Baylor College of Medicine at the American Society of Gene & Cell Therapy 25th Annual Meeting (ASGCT), held in Washington, DC, and virtually May 16-19, 2022.

Heczey and colleagues found that antitumor activity was associated with dosage and in vivo rate of expansion after treating 12 patients in 4 dose levels of 3x106 CAR+ NKTs/m2, 1x107 CAR+ NKTs/m2, 3x107 CAR+ NKTs/m2, and 1x108 CAR+ NKTs/m2 following lymphodepletion. Of these patients, 5 had progressive disease, 4 had stable disease, 2 had a partial response, and 1 had a complete response. No dose limiting toxicities or serious toxicities related to treatment were observed.

CGTLive spoke with Heczey to learn more about the phase 1 study and trends observed with antitumor activity. He discussed challenges with treating solid tumors and more research to be done.

Herczey A, Courtney A, Ghatwai N, et al. Anti-GD2 CAR NKT cells are safe and produce antitumor responses in patients with relapsed/refractory neuroblastoma. Presented at ASGCT 25th Annual Meeting May 16-19, 2022, Washington DC. Abstract #54
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