In our interview from the Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Research Consortium (CRC) meeting in late April 2015 in San Diego, Professor John Gribben outlined how he is approaching cellular immunity and T cell function in CLL.
Dr. Gribben hails from Saint Bartholomew’s Hospital, commonly referred to as Bart’s Hospital in London England. It was founded in 1123 and part of the medieval building persists to this day. While he may work at a nearly 900-year-old venerable institute where Dr. William Harvey, (a distal relative of my wife) famously described the systemic circulation of blood within the body, but our discussion is focused on the futuristic research that he is doing there on cellular immune therapies in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL).
Key Take Aways:
- Cellular immune therapy has proven its merit with the cures (still the only proven cures in CLL) seen with allogeneic bone marrow AKA hematopoietic stem cell transplants, but there are risks such as high morbidity and mortality.
- CAR-T (chimeric antigen receptor T cells) therapy results in CLL patients have been unpredictable and ranged from spectacular to disastrous.
- Part of the difficulty may be due to CLL patients’ ineffective “exhausted” T cells.
While the new kinase inhibitors have drastically improved the treatment options in CLL, it may very well be that it is a cellular therapy such as CAR-T that finally results in a cure.
If you are unfamiliar with all the excitement about CAR-T therapy, please listen to part 1 and part 2 of my interview with pioneer researcher Dr. David Porter of University of Pennsylvania for a background and orientation. We met at the European School of Hematology meeting held in Greece in 2014 where he explained his landmark studies with this novel therapy.
Here in the interview with Dr. Gribben.
Brian Koffman 10/26/15