ASH 2012: Dr. Bill Wierda on CAR-T Therapies and "Off the Shelf" T-Cells
In the first part of my interview from ASH 2012, he explains how he is moving forward in engineering T- cells to target the CLL clone and spare the normal B-cells.
These are early days, but there is surely a vision of an exciting future that is becoming clearer and brighter. Think of these souped-up T-cells doing the work of an allogeneic transplant without all the associated risks. Imagine them seeking and destroying our cancer cells and passing harmlessly by our normal cells.
Dr. Wierda does not minimize the risks or the work left to be done, but the journey has begun. There have been startling successes at U. of Penn and MDACC and UCSD and collaborating on finding better targets to attack and quicker and cheaper ways to engineer these killing machines.
Take a look at my recent post with Dr. Kipps on ROR1 to set the stage.
This work is particularly important because since it was recorded, it has been revealed that some patients with CAR-T directed against CD19 are relapsing because the clone is losing its CD19. Clever nasty cancer.
Poor patients now not only have an aggressive CLL relapsing, they also have no B cells and next to none antibodies, probably forever.
More to come soon.
Exciting and promising and challenging times.