An experimental therapy to treat gastric cancer has shown promising results to treat cancer, by reducing the size of cancerous tumours in patients by as much as 48.6 percent.
The clinical trial is in its first phase, and these results are from an early safety assessment to see whether the treatment is safe to administer.
However, while the scientists behind the experimental therapy say that the results need to be verified once the trials are complete, they add that the treatment shows tremendous promise to treat patients with advanced gastric cancer.
The experimental therapy was carried out by researchers at the Peking University Cancer Hospital and Insititute in Beijing, China, with the interim results being published in Nature journal.
What Is CAR T-Cell Therapy?
Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapy is an approach in which white blood cells or T-cells are infused and redesigned to target specific a specific set of proteins called Claudin 18.2 or CLDN18.
Claudin is found in many cells but is found more prominently in cancerous tissue, especially in gastric cancer, and is a common target for anti-tumour therapy. It finds abnormally high expression in patients with gastric or digestive cancers.
Previously, targeted therapy was used to treat blood cancers, but wasn't too effective in treating tumours.
The therapy in this instance is called CT041, which stands for CLDN18.2-targeted CAR T cells. In CT041, the modified T-cells are reintroduced to the patient's body, and they attack the tumourous tissue by targeting CLDN18.2 specifically.
How Effective is CAR T-Cell Therapy?
The objective of clinical trial in this case was to identify the safety of administering CT041 to patients with gastric cancers. Like we've mentioned before, the efficacy of CAR T-Cell therapy to treat blood cancers has been proved.
The secondary objective of the trial was to assess the efficacy of the treatment itself, after its safety was proved.
The interim results from the study showed that over 83 percent of the patients who were administered CT04 showed a reduction in tumour size.
While the final results are still awaited, the doctors behind the trials are positive about the results.
In a statement to The Guardian, Prof Charles Swanton, Cancer Research UK’s chief clinician, said:
“This is encouraging, as people with digestive cancers have very few treatment options. The study is still at an early stage, and larger-scale clinical trials will need to be done before Car T-cell therapies can be used routinely in this setting.”