Sheba’s In-House CAR T-cell Technology: An Interview with Prof. Arnon Nagler
At Sheba, several blood cancers, including acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL), non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL), multiple myeloma, and acute myelogenous leukemia (AML), are treated by CAR T-cell therapy, which involves programming the patient’s white blood cells to attack cancer cells by engineering them to produce specific chimeric antigen receptors (CARs). These CAR T-cells are then returned to the patient’s bloodstream, where they latch on to the tumor’s antigens in an attempt to destroy it.
The highly specialized and personalized CAR T-cell therapy is considered revolutionary, and is offered at a limited number of cancer centers worldwide, most of which rely on external laboratories for the cell programming process. At Sheba, the T-cells are engineered in-house without depending on commercial pharma manufacturers.
Prof. Nagler on Benefits of CAR T-Cell Therapy at Sheba
As part of an interview with Sheba’s Prof. Arnon Nagler, one of the world’s leading CAR T-cell therapy specialists and President of Sheba’s Hemato-Oncology Center, he discusses the benefits and reasoning for providing the entire treatment in-house. According to Prof. Nagler, due to the increasing demand for commercial CAR T-cells, they have become a lot more expensive and less accessible. These obstacles are avoided when cells are engineered and cultivated internally.
Prof. Nagler added that by handling the entire treatment internally, eliminating the need for cryopreservation, “cell quality and the potency of the treatment are preserved.” Furthermore, production failures are mostly avoided.
The future of CAR T-cell therapy seems to be bright, as the treatment continues to be tested in clinical trials for other conditions, such as Richter’s transformation, a disease with a very poor prognosis and few therapeutic recourses available. According to Prof. Nagler, the aforementioned trials show promising results, with most patients achieving remission. Clinical studies are also being conducted for the treatment of solid tumors, such as glioblastomas, pancreatic tumors, colorectal cancers, and others.
Concluding the article, the ongoing improvement of Sheba’s in-house CAR T-cell therapy capabilities was discussed, including the new treatment programs for multiple myeloma and AML.
Sheba is proud to continue leading the application and development of CAR T-cell therapy.