For patients with mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) developing resistance to chemotherapy is always a risk, but so is developing resistance to targeted therapies tailored for their disease.
This is why experts like Michael Wang, MD, professor in the Department of Lymphoma and Myeloma at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, are looking to CAR T-cell therapy to treat patients resistant to such treatment options.
At the 2019 School of Hematological Oncology, OncLive®, a sister publication of Oncology Nursing News®, had the chance to sit down with Wang and discuss why he believes CAR T-cell therapy is the answer for patients with MCL.
I really think that CAR T-cell therapy is the answer for the resistant tumors we are facing. We know that not even a single modality can cure any disease, especially when we are talking about the lymphoma therapy. Initially, we started with a chemotherapy era and we were able to cure a big portion of Hodgkin’s lymphoma, but only a very small portion of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Once this lymphoma progressed, we figured out that targeted therapies, like the small molecules such as rituximab (Rituxan) or ibrutinib (Imbruvica) targeting BCL-2, could rescue some of the patients that are already resistant to chemotherapy.
However, the sooner we found that only a fraction of those people treated who are resistant to chemotherapy goes into long-term remission with the targeted therapies. We were facing double resistance, the patient with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, what we call the (non-Hodgkin lymphoma), are resistant now to both chemotherapies and targeted therapies.