CAR-T Therapy Shows Promise in Shrinking Deadly Brain Cancer, Long-Term Effects Remain Uncertain

March 16, 2024

Two recent studies suggest promising advancements in the treatment of glioblastoma, a particularly aggressive and challenging type of brain cancer. Published on March 13th in both Nature Medicine and The New England Journal of Medicine, these papers detail the development and utilization of chimeric antigen receptor T (CAR T) cells, a type of engineered immune cells, against glioblastoma. Glioblastoma is notorious for its dismal prognosis, with patients typically surviving only about eight months following diagnosis.

The focus of both studies was on targeting specific proteins produced by glioblastoma cells using CAR T cells, effectively flagging these cells for destruction. Traditionally, CAR T cell therapy has been approved for blood cancers like leukemia and designed to recognize a single target. However, the findings from these studies suggest a potential expansion of CAR T cell therapy into solid tumors, including those in the brain.

Lead author of The New England Journal of Medicine study, Bryan Choi, a neurosurgeon at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, underscores the significance of these findings, stating that they lend credibility to the notion that CAR T cells could significantly impact solid tumors, particularly those in the brain. The results hint at the possibility of shifting the current treatment landscape for glioblastoma and other similarly challenging cancers, sparking enthusiasm within the medical community about the potential to improve patient outcomes.