Leukaemia remission for a decade after CAR-T cell therapy

May 2022 Medical Research Nalinee Pathak
Blood smear of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), analyze by microscope

A new study reports that CAR-T-cells were active in two chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) patients who had been treated with immunotherapy a decade back. These findings were published in the journal Nature.

Immunotherapy such as CAR-T-cell therapy has revolutionised the treatment landscape of cancer patients. These therapies have introduced a new era of personalised medicine for cancer patients. In 2010, two CLL-patients had volunteered to be treated with CAR-T-cell therapy in a clinical study conducted at the Abramson Cancer Center and the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. A new analysis of these patients after a decade has revealed exciting results about the stability of immunotherapy.

The study published in the journal Nature found the evolution of CAR-T-cells over time. Both the patients had a highly active population of CD4+ cells suggesting a two-phase evolution of CAR-T-cell therapy. There is the dominant activity of CD8+ cells in the initial phase, followed by remission control by CD4+ cells. These results are highly encouraging and show the efficacy of CAR-T-cell therapy in disease remission over a significant period.

The study’s senior author, professor Carl June, the Richard W. Vague Professor in immunotherapy in pathology and laboratory medicine at Penn, said: “Penn has begun testing next-generation T-cells in more blood cancers, including lymphomas, and against the challenging solid tumour cancers.

These findings can be extended to other cancers. Further research is needed to design specific CAR-T-cell therapies for cancer patients.


Melenhorst JJ, Chen GM, Wang M, Porter DL, et al. (2022) “Decade-long leukaemia remissions with the persistence of CD4+ CAR T cells.” Nature, doi: 10.1038/s41586-021-04390-6.