Cancer crushers

A variation of CD19 CAR T-cell gene therapy might help people with leukemia who have relapsed or failed to respond to the original therapy, according to a small study.

Instead of seeking out CD19 molecules — often found on leukemia cells — and killing the cells, the new therapy targets CD22 molecules, aiming to benefit patients whose leukemia cells lack CD19.

The study's senior author, Crystal Mackall, MD, director of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy at Stanford, says 11 of 15 trial patients went into temporary remission, with one still in remission 21 months later. The study was published Nov. 20 in Nature Immunology.

Now, Mackall and lead author Terry Fry, MD, a National Cancer Institute researcher, are testing a therapy recognizing both molecules.

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