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News & Trends - Pharmaceuticals

Roche’s drug shows promise in hard-to-treat blood cancers

Health Industry Hub | April 9, 2021 |
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Pharma News: For patients with some hard-to-treat blood cancers, a simple “off-the-shelf” immunotherapy is achieving promising results.

A clinical trial of Roche’s Glofitamab has shown it can produce a durable “complete response” in patients with relapsed or treatment resistant B-cell lymphomas.

One option for these patients is CAR T-cell therapy – also an immunotherapy but one which involves collecting the patient’s T-cells and reprogramming these cells in a laboratory to form a cancer-fighting infusion.

Peter Mac’s Group Leader for Aggressive Lymphoma, Dr Michael Dickinson, said Glofitamab had shown early impressive results in a similar group of patients.

“CAR T-cell therapy is a game-changer for how we treat blood cancer in patients who have exhausted conventional treatment options,” said Dr Dickinson, also an author of this study.

“The complexity of CAR T-cell therapy has also highlighted the need for more off-the-shelf options and, with Glofitamab, we are now starting to see these emerge. These trial results are impressive and support ongoing assessment of Glofitamab in larger scale trials, both as a single agent and in combination with other drugs,” he added.

The 171 participants in the Phase I clinical trial had B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma which had relapsed or stopped responding to treatment. More than half (53.8%) showed an anti-cancer response to the drug, and more than a third (36.8%) had a complete response.

The response rate, and complete response rate, increased to 65.7% and 57.1% respectively in a group who received a dose to be tested in a future Phase II trial. Among patients with a complete response, for most (84.1%) this was enduring and the longest tracked patient was cancer free for more than two years.

The drug’s most common adverse event was cytokine release syndrome – which is also a potential side-effect of CAR T-cell therapy requiring close management. A paper describing these trial results in full is published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.


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