Clinician Collaboration Aims to Improve Access to CAR-T Cell Therapy for Patients With Cancer

The CAR T Together initiative is geared toward improving the development of allogeneic CAR-T cell therapies for patients with cancer.

A new initiative called CAR T Together recently launched, with the goal of making CAR-T cell therapy more accessible to those who qualify for the treatment, according to Allogene Therapeutics, a manufacturer of allogeneic CAR-T cell products for cancer treatment and the pharmaceutical company behind the effort.

Clinicians from across the United States will participate in CAR T Together, which is aimed at increasing enrollment for allogeneic (also known as off-the-shelf) CAR-T cell therapies.

This type of CAR-T cell therapy uses T cells from healthy donors, rather than the patients themselves, to create the treatment, thus decreasing the complicated, individualized manufacturing process that is typically seen with CAR-T cell therapy.

“These first-generation CAR Ts transformed how we treat certain difficult-to-treat cancers, but the arduous, individualized manufacturing process and complex supply chain have made it hard for drug makers to keep up with growing demand,” Dr. David Chang, president, CEO and Co-Founder of Allogene, said in a company-issued press release.

According to the release, a survey of academic centers in the U.S. that specialized in administering CAR-T cell therapy, 82% of clinicians who responded said that CAR-T cell therapies have changed how they treat patients with aggressive cancers, but extensive wait times and manufacturing limitations sometimes prevent eligible patients from getting the treatment.

Of note, the survey found that half of patients who are eligible for currently approved CAR-T cell therapies receive the treatment, and only 12% were able to be treated within one month. Forty percent of patients wait between three to six months — or longer — to receive CAR-T cell therapy.

“This collaboration aims to hasten our efforts to develop an allogeneic CAR T option with the potential to overcome these barriers and significantly expand patient access,” Chang said.

As CAR-T cell therapies continue to be approved in more indications — and earlier within the cancer treatment sequence — overcoming these barriers will become more important than ever, according to Dr. Rafael Amado, executive vice president of research and development at Allogene.

READ MORE: FDA to Speed Up Review of Novel CAR-T Cell Therapy for Rare Forms of Lymphoma and Leukemia

“These constraints are not temporary. In fact, we expect these issues will persist and potentially grow as market demand increases and CAR Ts are approved in earlier indications. The solution lies in the problem,” he said “How can we open up access? One potential solution is to develop allogeneic CAR T alternatives for patients that reduce the barriers to innovation for eligible patients.”

For more news on cancer updates, research and education, don’t forget to subscribe to CURE®’s newsletters here.