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ASCO conference: Gilead's CAR-T Yescarta works better in older lymphoma patients

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ASCO conference: Gilead's CAR-T Yescarta works better in older lymphoma patients

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The 2019 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology takes place from May 31 to June 4.
Source: ASCO

Gilead Sciences Inc. said a follow-up study showed that its cell therapy Yescarta curbed cancer in patients with lymphoma, and older patients were more likely to see a benefit.

Yescarta is a Chimeric antigen receptor T cell therapy in which immune cells are removed from a patient, engineered to target proteins associated with cancer and re-administered to the patient.

In an analysis of the study called Zuma-1, researchers found that patients with returning or resistant large B cell lymphoma who were older than 65 responded more often to the Yescarta treatment, with 92% showing some response compared with 81% of those younger than 65 whose cancer ebbed during treatment in just over two years.

Of those two groups, 75% of the older patients showed a complete response, which is the disappearance of all signs of cancer. Of the younger patients, 53% showed a complete response.

At the end of two years, 54% of the older patients lived and 49% of the younger patients survived.

Almost all of the patients regardless of age had adverse events, Gilead said in a release.

Gilead announced the results at the 2019 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

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"Patients with refractory large B cell lymphoma who have exhausted treatment options and are still facing progressive disease are often older," said co-lead investigator Sattva Neelapu, a professor in the Department of Lymphoma/Myeloma of the Division of Cancer Medicine at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. "Our results showed [Yescarta] offered clinical benefit with a manageable safety profile in patients aged 65 and over, which reinforces this therapy's use in these patients who otherwise have limited treatment options."

Kite Pharma Inc. was developing Yescarta prior to Gilead's acquisition of the company in August 2017. Kite is a unit of Gilead.

Yescarta followed Novartis AG's Kymriah as the second CAR-T cell therapy to be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

In addition to the study analysis, Gilead also revealed a safety study from the Zuma-1 trial that showed that using steroids shortly after receiving Yescarta reduces potential side effects associated with the treatment.

The 2019 American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting is expected to bring together more than 32,000 professionals from around the world, with more than 2,400 study abstracts to be presented on site and an additional 3,200 abstracts to be published online.