• Press Release

Researchers Find Treatment Options for Patients Whose Blood Cancer Relapses After CAR-T

Addresses major gap in effectiveness of immunotherapy

  • New York, NY
  • (November 04, 2022)

Mount Sinai and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) researchers have identified therapies that can help patients with the blood cancer multiple myeloma who try an immunotherapy known as CAR-T only to find their cancer coming back afterwards.

CAR-T, short for chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy, enlists immune cells called T cells to fight multiple myeloma by altering them in the lab so they can find and destroy cancer cells. It has been a revolutionary treatment for this deadly cancer, but some patients relapse after receiving CAR-T therapy and have no good treatment options afterward.

In a new study published in the journal Blood in November, the researchers studied a large group of multiple myeloma patients who were given several different therapies when they relapsed after receiving a type of CAR-T cell therapy called BCMA-directed CAR-T. This version of CAR-T cell therapy targets the BCMA protein on cancerous plasma cells in order to fight multiple myeloma.

The researchers found that other therapies that engage T cells, including bispecific antibodies and other types of CAR-T cell therapy, appear to have the most pronounced success in knocking down these relapsed patients’ cancer for the greatest length of time.

“The findings of this study will serve as a benchmark for future prospective clinical studies that intend to improve the outcomes of patients who progress after CAR-T,” said a senior author on the study, Samir Parekh, MD, Director of Translational Research in Multiple Myeloma and co-leader of the Cancer Clinical Investigation program at The Tisch Cancer Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. “This is the first study to report outcomes of different therapeutic options given to a large cohort of patients who relapsed after anti-BCMA CAR-T therapy. This is one of the most urgent and unmet needs in myeloma patients and, therefore, of great interest to the hematology community.”

This retrospective study analyzed 79 patients’ disease characteristics, the treatments given after relapse, and the patients’ responses to the therapies. Patients’ median overall survival to date is about 18 months.

Stem cell transplants also showed some efficacy in these patients. Other drug combinations can also be used with variable efficacy based on the characteristics of individual patients’ cancer, the study found.

The patients were treated at The Tisch Cancer Institute and MSK.

“We’re encouraged that subsequent use of other novel immune therapies like a second CAR-T cell therapy or a bispecific antibody was feasible and led to durable responses in patients,” said Sham Mailankody, MBBS, Associate Attending Physician, MSK, and senior author on the paper. “We look forward to continuing this work and unlocking the full potential of immune therapies for patients with multiple myeloma.”

About the Mount Sinai Health System

Mount Sinai Health System is one of the largest academic medical systems in the New York metro area, with 48,000 employees working across eight hospitals, more than 400 outpatient practices, more than 600 research and clinical labs, a school of nursing, and a leading school of medicine and graduate education. Mount Sinai advances health for all people, everywhere, by taking on the most complex health care challenges of our time—discovering and applying new scientific learning and knowledge; developing safer, more effective treatments; educating the next generation of medical leaders and innovators; and supporting local communities by delivering high-quality care to all who need it.

Through the integration of its hospitals, labs, and schools, Mount Sinai offers comprehensive health care solutions from birth through geriatrics, leveraging innovative approaches such as artificial intelligence and informatics while keeping patients’ medical and emotional needs at the center of all treatment. The Health System includes approximately 9,000 primary and specialty care physicians and 11 free-standing joint-venture centers throughout the five boroughs of New York City, Westchester, Long Island, and Florida. Hospitals within the System are consistently ranked by Newsweek’s® “The World’s Best Smart Hospitals, Best in State Hospitals, World Best Hospitals and Best Specialty Hospitals” and by U.S. News & World Report's® “Best Hospitals” and “Best Children’s Hospitals.” The Mount Sinai Hospital is on the U.S. News & World Report® “Best Hospitals” Honor Roll for 2024-2025.

For more information, visit https://www.mountsinai.org or find Mount Sinai on FacebookTwitter and YouTube.