Chimeric Antigen Receptor-T Cell Therapy: Practical Considerations for Implementation in Europe.
ABSTRACT: Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T cell therapy is a new class of cellular immunotherapies that involves ex vivo genetic modification of T cells to incorporate an engineered CAR. After infusion into the patient, the CAR-expressing T cells recognize specific tumor targets and induce an immune response against them. The technology utilized is fundamentally different from previously available cancer treatments. Currently, most CAR-T cell therapies use autologous T cells. Tisagenlecleucel (formerly CTL019) is an anti-CD19 CAR-T cell therapy that was recently approved in the United States for the treatment of pediatric and young adult patients with relapsed/refractory B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL). Tisagenlecleucel has shown robust in vivo expansion and long-term persistence, clinically meaningful durable response and remission rates, and overall survival benefit in pediatric and young adult patients with relapsed/refractory B-ALL and in relapsed/refractory diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. Common adverse events (AEs) include cytokine release syndrome, which may require hospitalization and admission to an intensive care unit, neurological toxicities, and B-cell aplasia. These AEs are manageable when treated by an appropriately trained team. Additional research is required to further develop AE management protocols. In this review, we describe regulatory requirements, clinical considerations, and site-level requirements for clinical study implementation of CAR-T cell therapy in Europe. We also provide a case study of the European experience from the first global clinical trial for tisagenlecleucel, which may serve as a useful starting point for investigators and clinicians looking to implement CAR-T cell therapy at their institutions.
Project description:Recent advancements in immunooncology have resulted in the generation of novel therapies such as chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells, which have revolutionized the treatment of pediatric patients with relapsed or refractory B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia. The journey of tisagenlecleucel (formerly CTL019) from early preclinical success to the US Food and Drug Administration approval is summarized in this review. Strategies that are currently being investigated to improve the efficacy and safety profile of CAR T-cells are also explored, as well as the factors contributing to the present state of patient access to CAR T therapy.
Project description:Over the past decades, survival of patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) has dramatically improved, but the subgroup of patients with relapsed/refractory ALL still continues to have dismal prognosis. As an emerging therapeutic approach, chimeric antigen receptor-modified T-cells (CAR-T) represent one of the few practice-changing therapies for this subgroup of patients. Originally conceived and built in Philadelphia (University of Pennsylvania), CTL019 or tisagenlecleucel, the first CAR-T approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, showed impressive results in refractory/relapsed ALL since the publication on two pediatric patients in 2013. It is in this context that we provide a review of this product in terms of manufacturing, pharmacology, toxicity, and efficacy studies. Evaluation and management of toxicities, particularly cytokine release syndrome and neurotoxicity, is recognized as an essential part of the patient treatment with broader use of IL-6 receptor inhibitor. An under-assessed aspect, the quality of life of patients entering CAR-T cells treatment, will also be reviewed. By their unique nature, CAR-T cells such as tisagenlecleucel operate in a different way than typical drugs, but also provide unique hope for B-cell malignancies.
Project description:BACKGROUND:In a single-center phase 1-2a study, the anti-CD19 chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy tisagenlecleucel produced high rates of complete remission and was associated with serious but mainly reversible toxic effects in children and young adults with relapsed or refractory B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). METHODS:We conducted a phase 2, single-cohort, 25-center, global study of tisagenlecleucel in pediatric and young adult patients with CD19+ relapsed or refractory B-cell ALL. The primary end point was the overall remission rate (the rate of complete remission or complete remission with incomplete hematologic recovery) within 3 months. RESULTS:For this planned analysis, 75 patients received an infusion of tisagenlecleucel and could be evaluated for efficacy. The overall remission rate within 3 months was 81%, with all patients who had a response to treatment found to be negative for minimal residual disease, as assessed by means of flow cytometry. The rates of event-free survival and overall survival were 73% (95% confidence interval [CI], 60 to 82) and 90% (95% CI, 81 to 95), respectively, at 6 months and 50% (95% CI, 35 to 64) and 76% (95% CI, 63 to 86) at 12 months. The median duration of remission was not reached. Persistence of tisagenlecleucel in the blood was observed for as long as 20 months. Grade 3 or 4 adverse events that were suspected to be related to tisagenlecleucel occurred in 73% of patients. The cytokine release syndrome occurred in 77% of patients, 48% of whom received tocilizumab. Neurologic events occurred in 40% of patients and were managed with supportive care, and no cerebral edema was reported. CONCLUSIONS:In this global study of CAR T-cell therapy, a single infusion of tisagenlecleucel provided durable remission with long-term persistence in pediatric and young adult patients with relapsed or refractory B-cell ALL, with transient high-grade toxic effects. (Funded by Novartis Pharmaceuticals; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT02435849 .).
Project description:Tisagenlecleucel (CTL019) is an investigational immunotherapy that involves reprogramming a patient's own T cells with a transgene encoding a chimeric antigen receptor to identify and eliminate CD19-expressing cells. We previously reported that CTL019 achieved impressive clinical efficacy in patients with relapsed/refractory B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), including the expansion and persistence of CTL019 cells, which correlates with response to therapy. Here, we performed formal cellular kinetic analyses of CTL019 in a larger cohort of 103 patients treated with CTL019 in 2 different diseases (ALL and CLL). CTL019 was measured in peripheral blood and bone marrow, using quantitative polymerase chain reaction and flow cytometry. CTL019 levels in peripheral blood typically peaked at 10 to 14 days postinfusion and then declined slowly over time. Patients with complete response (CR)/CR with incomplete count recovery had higher levels of CTL019 in peripheral blood, with greater maximal concentration and area under the curve values compared with nonresponding patients (P < .0001 for each). CTL019 transgene levels were measurable up to 780 days in peripheral blood. CTL019 trafficking and persistence were observed in bone marrow and cerebrospinal fluid. CTL019 expansion correlated with severity of cytokine release syndrome (CRS) and preinfusion tumor burden in pediatric ALL. The results described here are the first detailed formal presentation of cellular kinetics across 2 diseases and highlight the importance of the application of in vivo cellular kinetic analyses to characterize clinical efficacy and CRS severity associated with CTL019 therapy.
Project description:The current treatment for pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is highly successful with high cure rate. However, the treatment of adult ALL remains a challenge, particularly for refractory and/or relapsed (R/R) ALL. The advent of new targeted agents, blinatumomab, inotuzumab ozogamycin, and chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells, are changing the treatment paradigm for ALL. Tisagenlecleucel (kymriah, Novartis) is an autologous CD19-targeted CAR T cell product approved for treatment of R/R B cell ALL and lymphoma. In an attempt to reduce the relapse rate and treat those relapsed patients with antigen loss, donor-derived CAR T cells and CD19/CD22 dual-target CAR T cells are in clinical trials. Gene-edited "off-the-shelf" universal CAR T cells are also undergoing active clinical development. This review summarized new clinical trials and latest updates at the 2018 ASH Annual Meeting on CAR T therapy for ALL with a focus on dual-target CAR T and universal CAR T cell trials.
Project description:Patients with multiply relapsed or refractory chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) have a poor prognosis. Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-modified T cells targeting CD19 have the potential to improve on the low complete response rates with conventional therapies by inducing sustained remissions in patients with refractory B cell malignancies. We previously reported preliminary results on three patients with refractory CLL. We report the mature results from our initial trial using CAR-modified T cells to treat 14 patients with relapsed and refractory CLL. Autologous T cells transduced with a CD19-directed CAR (CTL019) lentiviral vector were infused into patients with relapsed/refractory CLL at doses of 0.14 × 10(8) to 11 × 10(8) CTL019 cells (median, 1.6 × 10(8) cells). Patients were monitored for toxicity, response, expansion, and persistence of circulating CTL019 T cells. The overall response rate in these heavily pretreated CLL patients was 8 of 14 (57%), with 4 complete remissions (CR) and 4 partial remissions (PR). The in vivo expansion of the CAR T cells correlated with clinical responses, and the CAR T cells persisted and remained functional beyond 4 years in the first two patients achieving CR. No patient in CR has relapsed. All responding patients developed B cell aplasia and experienced cytokine release syndrome, coincident with T cell proliferation. Minimal residual disease was not detectable in patients who achieved CR, suggesting that disease eradication may be possible in some patients with advanced CLL.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Anti-CD19 CAR T cell therapy has demonstrated high response rates in patients with relapsed or refractory (r/r) B cell malignancies but is associated with significant toxicity. Cytokine release syndrome (CRS) is the most significant complication associated with CAR T cell therapy, and it is critical to have a reproducible and easy method to grade CRS after CAR T cell infusions. DISCUSSION:The Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events scale is inadequate for grading CRS associated with cellular therapy. Clinical experience with the anti-CD19 CAR T cell therapy tisagenlecleucel at the University of Pennsylvania (Penn) was used to develop the Penn grading scale for CRS. The Penn grading scale depends on easily accessible clinical features; does not rely on location of care or quantitation of supportive care; assigns grades to guide CRS management; distinguishes between mild, moderate, severe, and life-threatening CRS; and applies to both early-onset and delayed-onset CRS associated with T cell therapies. Clinical data from 55 pediatric patients with r/r B cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia and 42 patients with r/r chronic lymphocytic lymphoma treated with tisagenlecleucel were used to demonstrate the current application of the Penn grading scale. CONCLUSION:We show that the Penn grading scale provides reproducible CRS grading that can be useful to guide therapy and that can be applied across clinical trials and treatment platforms.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Multiple myeloma is usually fatal due to serial relapses that become progressively refractory to therapy. CD19 is typically absent on the dominant multiple myeloma cell population but may be present on minor subsets with unique myeloma-propagating properties. To target myeloma-propagating cells, we clinically evaluated autologous T cells transduced with a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) against CD19 (CTL019). METHODS:Subjects received CTL019 following salvage high-dose melphalan and autologous stem cell transplantation (ASCT). All subjects had relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma and had previously undergone ASCT with less than 1 year progression-free survival (PFS). RESULTS:ASCT + CTL019 was safe and feasible, with most toxicity attributable to ASCT and no severe cytokine release syndrome. Two of 10 subjects exhibited significantly longer PFS after ASCT + CTL019 compared with prior ASCT (479 vs. 181 days; 249 vs. 127 days). Correlates of favorable clinical outcome included peak CTL019 frequency in bone marrow and emergence of humoral and cellular immune responses against the stem-cell antigen Sox2. Ex vivo treatment of primary myeloma samples with a combination of CTL019 and CAR T cells against the plasma cell antigen BCMA reliably inhibited myeloma colony formation in vitro, whereas treatment with either CAR alone inhibited colony formation inconsistently. CONCLUSION:CTL019 may improve duration of response to standard multiple myeloma therapies by targeting and precipitating secondary immune responses against myeloma-propagating cells. TRIAL REGISTRATION:Clinicaltrials.gov identifier NCT02135406. FUNDING:Novartis, NIH, Conquer Cancer Foundation.
Project description:Tisagenlecleucel is a CD19-specific chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T cell therapy approved for patients aged ?25 years with relapsed or refractory B cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL) and adults with relapsed or refractory diffuse large B cell lymphoma (DLBCL). The initial tisagenlecleucel manufacturing process technology was developed at an academic center and was subsequently transferred, optimized, validated, and scaled out to supply large global trials before commercialization. Tisagenlecleucel manufactured in two centralized facilities has been successfully used in global multicenter trials for B-ALL and DLBCL (>50 clinical centers in 12 countries). In this paper, we describe some of the continuous process improvements made to tisagenlecleucel manufacturing over time to meet global demand while maintaining and improving product quality. During early tisagenlecleucel clinical trials, process enhancements were made to address logistical challenges related to manufacturing for multicenter trials and to accommodate the variability observed in patient starting cellular material. These enhancements resulted in improvements in manufacturing capacity, process robustness, manufacturing success rates, and product quality, and reductions in throughput time. In summary, through continuous evaluation and improvements based on experience during global trials, a consistent and robust commercial manufacturing process for tisagenlecleucel has been developed, leading to improvements in manufacturing success when compared to the initial processes.
Project description:PURPOSE:Tisagenlecleucel is an anti-CD19 chimeric antigen receptor (CAR19) T-cell therapy approved for the treatment of children and young adults with relapsed/refractory (r/r) B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL). PATIENTS AND METHODS:We evaluated the cellular kinetics of tisagenlecleucel, the effect of patient factors, humoral immunogenicity, and manufacturing attributes on its kinetics, and exposure-response analysis for efficacy, safety and pharmacodynamic endpoints in 79 patients across two studies in pediatric B-ALL (ELIANA and ENSIGN). RESULTS:Using quantitative polymerase chain reaction to quantify levels of tisagenlecleucel transgene, responders (N = 62) had ?2-fold higher tisagenlecleucel expansion in peripheral blood than nonresponders (N = 8; 74% and 104% higher geometric mean Cmax and AUC0-28d, respectively) with persistence measurable beyond 2 years in responding patients. Cmax increased with occurrence and severity of cytokine release syndrome (CRS). Tisagenlecleucel continued to expand and persist following tocilizumab, used to manage CRS. Patients with B-cell recovery within 6 months had earlier loss of the transgene compared with patients with sustained clinical response. Clinical responses were seen across the entire dose range evaluated (patients ?50 kg: 0.2 to 5.0 × 106/kg; patients >50 kg: 0.1 to 2.5 × 108 CAR-positive viable T cells) with no relationship between dose and safety. Neither preexisting nor treatment-induced antimurine CAR19 antibodies affected the persistence or clinical response. CONCLUSIONS:Response to tisagenlecleucel was associated with increased expansion across a wide dose range. These results highlight the importance of cellular kinetics in understanding determinants of response to chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy.