Abramson Cancer Canter studies show promise of immunotherapy combinations, including CAR T

CHICAGO – As immunotherapies continue to make up a larger share of new cancer drugs, researchers are looking for the most effective ways to use these cutting edge treatments in combination with each or with other pre-existing options. New studies from the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania are providing fresh clues on potentially effective combinations with CAR T therapy in brain cancer as well as a novel therapeutic target in head and neck cancer, and also providing greater understanding of the mechanisms of resistance in pancreatic cancer. All three studies will be presented as late breaking abstracts at the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting in Chicago.

Combining CAR T Therapy with Checkpoint Inhibitors in Glibolastoma

The first study combines CAR T cell therapy with immune checkpoint blockade inhibitors in glioblastoma – an aggressive form of brain cancer (Abstract LB-340). Researchers used two different types of CAR T cells. One was specifically engineered to bind to epidermal growth factor receptor variant three (EGFRvIII), a gene that is commonly mutated by glioblastoma. Another targeted a protein known as interleukin-13 receptor subunit alpha-2 (IL-13Rα2). Researchers combined a variety of checkpoint inhibitors and found CARs targeting EGFRvIII were five times more


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