CLL patient treated at Penn goes into remission thanks to single CAR T cell
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IMAGE: Joseph A. Fraietta, Ph.D. (left) and J. Joseph Melenhorst, Ph.D. (right) view more 

Credit: Penn Medicine

PHILADELPHIA – The doctors who have spent years studying the case call it “a series of fortunate events.” What began as a remarkable response to chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapy is now providing evidence about the human genome and immune response that could help turn gene therapy non-responders into responders. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania’s Abramson Cancer Center say a patient treated for chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) in 2013 went into remission because of a single CAR T cell and the cells it produced as it multiplied, and has stayed cancer free in the five years since, with CAR T cells still present in his immune system. The findings, published today in Nature, show the response is tied to where the CAR gene inserted itself into the patient’s T cell DNA, a key factor that may help improve response rates to the therapy. CLL is a type of cancer that starts in cells that become certain white blood cells in the bone marrow, and then move into the blood and lymph nodes. These cancer cells reproduce too quickly and

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