CAR T therapy successfully treats solid tumours in China

CAR-T therapy

CARsgen has published evidence of over seven years of disease-free survival in advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) following treatment with its CAR-GPC3 T cell therapy.

Hepatocellular carcinoma is one of the most common malignant tumours, with approximately 780,000 annual incidence cases globally. Recurrence and metastasis are common. For HCC patients with concurrent inferior vena cava tumour thrombus, treatment options are limited and overall prognosis is poor.

Even with surgical resection, the median overall survival is only 17.8 months postoperatively. For those undergoing other local or systemic treatments, the median overall survival ranges from 5.9 to 15.4 months.

In May 2015, the Department of Interventional Oncology of Renji Hospital in Shanghai collaborated with CARsgen Therapeutics to initiate the first clinical study with CAR T cell therapy targeting the GPC3 (Glypican-3) protein in advanced hepatocellular carcinoma.

No tumour recurrence at long-term follow-up

At the time of enrollment, two patients already presented inferior vena cava tumour thrombus, and one of them also had retroperitoneal lymph node metastasis, a particularly poor prognosis factor for the outcome. However, both patients maintained a tumour-free status during long-term follow-up after receiving a combination of local and CAR T cell therapies.

Throughout the follow-up period, both patients only received oral anti-hepatitis B virus medication, with no other cancer treatments administered. Recently, the two patients returned to Renji Hospital for a follow-up examination, which confirmed the absence of tumour recurrence.

Professor Bo Zhai, the principal investigator of this study and the Director of the Department of Interventional Oncology of Renji Hospital, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, said: “In this case report, two patients achieved long-term tumour-free survival through a combination of localised treatment and CAR T cell therapy targeting GPC3, offering new hope for advanced hepatocellular carcinoma patients. Despite the tremendous efforts of scientists, the development of CAR T cell therapy for solid tumours still encounter various challenges, such as the inherent physical and immune barriers of solid tumours, tumour cell heterogeneity, antigen specificity, and the potential risks associated with CAR T cell therapy.”

In January 2023, CARsgen announced it would collaborate with Huadong Medicine (Hangzhou) on the commercialisation of its BCMA CAR-T product CT053 for relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma.

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