Marcela Maus, MD, PhD, on New Research on CAR T for Solid Tumors, Glioblastoma

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The Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School shared her outlook on the trajectory of CAR T-cell therapy for treating solid tumors.

“I feel like the field has fits and starts in terms of which diseases and which trials end up being positive. There are always some surprises that come along. And I think that's kind of where we are with solid tumor. The field started in ovarian cancer, there's been trials in pancreatic cancer and mesothelioma, and we're starting to see some evidence of responses, but what seems to be taking off is soft tissue sarcomas and neuroblastomas and potentially gliomas. So, it's maybe not the first trial or the first type of tumor that we think it's going to work in, but I do think there's a lot of potential.”

A big focus for 2024 in the cell therapy field is approaching solid tumors, especially with the upcoming milestone Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA) date for lifileucel (Iovance Biotherapeutics) on February 24. The tumor infiltrating lymphocyte (TIL) therapy stands to be the potentially first approved cell therapy for treating solid tumors, in this case, advanced melanoma.1

Other research efforts are focused on adapting chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy, which has so far only seen success in treating hematological malignancies, to better treat solid tumors.

CGTLive spoke with Marcela Maus, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, and director, cellular immunotherapy, Cancer Center, Massachusetts General Hospital, to learn more about current research that her lab is involved with. She touched on a few programs, including a EGFRvIII and IL-13Rα2-targeting Tandem CAR (TanCART) for heterogeneous glioblastoma.2

REFERENCES
1. U.S. Food and Drug Administration updates Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA) action date for lifileucel for the treatment of advanced melanoma. Iovance Biotherapeutics. September 14, 2023. Accessed September 15, 2023. https://ir.iovance.com/news-releases/news-release-details/us-food-and-drug-administration-updates-prescription-drug-user
2. Schmidts A, Srivastava AA, Ramapriyan R, et al. Tandem chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells targeting EGFRvIII and IL-13Rα2 are effective against heterogeneous glioblastoma. Neuro-Oncol. Adv. January-December 2023(5),1: vdac185. doi: 10.1093/noajnl/vdac185
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