City of Hope's late-breaking clinical trial data to be presented at AACR

Researchers at City of Hope, one of the largest cancer research and treatment organizations in the United States, will present late-breaking and clinical trial findings at this year's American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting, which begins today. These additional presentations showcase a pilot program in tobacco use cessation and new developments in cell therapy.

Engineering natural killer cells for a new type of cell therapy (two presentations)

(1) "Off-the-shelf cord blood FLT3 CAR-NK cells for immunotherapy of acute myeloid leukemia"

Poster Presentation LB102: Monday, April 11, 1:30 to 5 p.m. CT

Jianhua Yu, Michael Caligiuri and colleagues have developed a new cell therapy approach using natural killer cells that, in lab models, induced a greater response against acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and lengthened the survival of mice with AML without damaging healthy blood stem cells. The treatment could one day provide a viable cell therapy option for patients with AML, who traditionally have not benefited from innovative cell therapy treatments. When these patients experience relapse, it often occurs rapidly, so there is not enough time to prepare patient-derived chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapy. City of Hope researchers believe the off-the-shelf cord blood approach they are developing will provide a breakthrough treatment option for a subpopulation of AML patients with the FLT3 gene.

(2) "Tumor-reactive and anti-PD-L1 co-stimulated killer cells (TRACK-NK) for immunotherapy of non-small cell lung cancer"

Poster presentation LB211, Wednesday, April 13, 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. CT

Ting Lu, Jianhua Yu, Michael Caligiuri and colleagues have engineered off-the-shelf natural killer cells to make a protein that causes them to be 10 times more potent in killing human lung cancer cells grown in the lab. When tested in mice transplanted with human non-small cell lung cancer, the innovative cell therapy City of Hope developed worked better than un-engineered natural killer cells and did not appear to affect body weight, liver or kidney function, or blood counts, suggesting a safe and effective approach to test clinically.

Priming brain tumors with an oncolytic virus before CAR T cell therapy will soon be tested in humans

"Oncolytic viral reshaping of the tumor microenvironment to promote CAR T cell therapy for glioblastoma"

Poster Presentation CT541, Wednesday, April 13, 9 a.m. to noon CT

Christine Brown will present data to support the initiation of a Phase 1 clinical trial combining CAR T cell therapy with a cancer-killing oncolytic viral therapy for the treatment of recurrent glioblastoma. This combination trial builds on interim clinical findings from City of Hope and the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). A CAR T cell therapy Phase 1 trial being carried out at City of Hope for recurrent glioblastoma suggests that the more immune cells within the tumor, the longer the patient's survival. The oncolytic viral clinical Phase 1 trial conducted by UAB used an oncolytic virus engineered for improved gene expression and viral replication to kill specific brain tumor cells; early findings suggest that the virus could activate immune responses in the brain. Based on these human clinical trials, the research team treated mice with brain tumors first with the oncolytic virus, then with cell therapy, and showed that together the two treatments did not cause any side effects. Based on these findings, a clinical trial under a Mustang Bio investigational new drug application will soon open to try this combination on two types of brain tumors.

Empowering cancer patients to design their own smoking cessation program increases desire to quit

"Empowering tobacco-using cancer patient initiation of tobacco cessation by a personal pathway to success program during preoperative patient counseling: a feasibility study"

Poster Presentation LB553, Friday, April 8, noon to 1 p.m. CT

Cary Presant, Kimlin Ashing, Steven Rosen and colleagues developed a novel Personal Pathway to Success program where cancer patients were able to choose from 27 individualized tobacco cessation services to help them quit smoking prior to surgery. The pilot program was offered to 54 patients in a preoperative anesthesia testing clinic, and 23 completed counseling. The availability of the program increased initial patient interest from less than 10% to more than 50% of patients working to quit smoking. The innovative, personalized intervention program appears to be effective, partially because it reaches cancer patients during presurgery visits, when they seem to be more receptive to a "teachable moment" of behavioral changes to prevent disease.

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