The chief medical officer of Orca Bio discussed some trends he was excited about at ASH’s 2023 conference.
This is the second part of an interview with Scott McClellan, MD. For the first part, click here.
“It's entirely speculative, but I think this field is going to change drastically.”
The past several years have seen the emergence of chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CAR-T) therapies as a modality of increasing importance in oncology, especially for hematological malignancies. As FDA-approved CAR-T therapies have become a part of the current landscape of care in the field, interest in developing additional new cell therapies, both CAR-T therapies and other forms of cell therapy, has continued among experts in both oncology and hematology. For example, Orca Bio is currently developing Orca-T and Orca-Q, 2 engineered cell therapies that are intended to address needs that are currently not met by allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplants (alloHSCT), one of the standard of care options for several types of hematological malignancies.
Following a discussion with Scott McClellan, MD, the chief medical officer of Orca Bio, about clinical data from trials evaluating Orca-T and Orca-Q that were presented at the 2023 American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting & Exposition, held December 9-12, in San Diego, California, CGTLive™ spoke with McClellan more generally about the conference and exciting trends in cell therapy. McClellan pointed to increased focuses on reducing toxicities associated with cell therapy, reducing the need for chemotherapy conditioning, and expanding the application of engineered cell therapies to indications beyond hematological malignancies, as important trends going on in the field right now. He also emphasized the importance of diversity and inclusion when it comes to clinical development of engineered cell therapies, noting that Orca-Q is intended to provide a new option for patients from racial and ethnic backgrounds that tend to have fewer opportunities to receive alloHSCT because of underrepresentation in donor databases in the United States. McClellan concluded by giving his thoughts on how the field of cell therapy could continue to change rapidly in the future, highlighting the potential of artificial intelligence and big data approaches.