Patients face long waits for CAR T-cell therapy
Chimeric antigen-receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy can be a treatment option for some patients with blood cancers for whom all other treatment options have been exhausted. The “last-chance” treatment involves genetically engineering the patient's own blood cells and reinfusing them back into their system, where they hunt down and destroy cancer cells. This treatment is effective in about half of patients with leukemia or lymphoma and about a third of patients with myeloma.
However, many patients seeking CAR T-cell therapy are not able to obtain it or spend months waiting for it while their health may deteriorate. Often patients are facing hospice and death as all other treatment options have failed.
Yi Lin, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of medicine at Mayo Clinic and medical director for the Cellular Therapy Program, led a survey to investigate the scope of this problem, which has not been covered in literature thus far. The findings were published as an abstract at the recent annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.