First report of JCAR017 trial: CAR-T cell activity observed in the brain

Researchers from Juno Therapeutics and Massachusetts General Hospital reported on a case in the JCAR017 ( number, NCT02631044) clinical trial. The patient, a 68-year-old woman with refractory diffuse large-B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) was diagnosed with a brain metastasis upon enrolling in the trial. After treatment with the CAR-T cells, the tumour shrank back and went into temporary remission. This provides the first in vivo evidence that CAR-T cells may be effective in the central nervous system (CNS). Lesions in the CNS are typically associated with poor outcome and CAR-T cell activity in the brain could be very beneficial. Once the tumour reappeared, a biopsy was done, which was followed by re-expansion of the CAR-T cells. This suggests that CAR-T cells can respond to the patient's disease rather than wear off over time. The authors suggest that the re-expansion of the CAR-T cells may be linked to the biopsy, although further research will be needed to confirm this hypothesis.


Original article: New England Journal of Medicine

Digest for a general audience: Massachusetts General Hospital