David Porter, MD, on Adopting CAR T-Cell Therapy for Autoimmune Disease


The director of Cell Therapy and Transplant at Penn Medicine discussed the potential of CAR T-cell therapy to benefit patients with diseases including Lupus nephritis.

“Many patients [with autoimmune diseases], just like patients with cancer, don't respond well, or they become resistant, or just the burden of being on so much immunosuppression over time, causes really unacceptable morbidity. So, it's logical to think about using anti B cell directed therapy that potentially is much more potent than available therapies, that's a one and done therapy that doesn't require lifelong immune suppression. And so, the idea came using the available CAR T cell approach to target B cells to get very, very deep B cell depletion to prevent production of auto antibodies, and potentially treat autoimmunity.”

The next wave of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy indications looks poised to come from a wholly different field than the approved hematological malignancy indications: autoimmune disease. 2023 saw a record number of investigational chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CAR-T) therapies enter clinical trials for the treatment of autoimmune diseases, mostly focusing so far on lupus nephritis (LN) and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).

As approved CAR T-cell therapies target malignant B-cells, a logical expansion is happening to the investigation of CAR T-cell therapies in B-cell-driven autoimmune diseases like SLE and LN, with a growing list of trials entering the space including Kyverna Therapeutics’ KYV-101 and Nkarta’s NKX019 in LN, ImmPACT Bio’s IMPT-514 and Gracell Bio’s GC012F in SLE, and Cabaletta Bio’s CABA-201 and Artiva Bio’s AB-101 being investigated in both SLE and LN.

CGTLive® spoke with David Porter, MD, director of Cell Therapy and Transplant and Jodi Fisher Horowitz Professor in Leukemia Care Excellence, University of Pennsylvania Medicine, to learn more about the potential benefit of CAR T-cell therapy in B-cell driven autoimmune disease. He discussed the unmet needs that patients with autoimmune disease have with standard of care immunosuppression therapies and how CAR T-cell therapy may help improve outcomes in this population.

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