The two patients were treated in 2010 as part of a phase 1 trial of a CAR-T cell therapy for chronic lymphocytic leukemia, CNN adds. In a new Nature paper, researchers led by the University of Pennsylvania's Carl June describe the 10 years of follow-up, reporting that CAR-T cells could still be detected 10 years later. The researchers also note two treatment response phases: one marked by the presence of by CD8+ or CD4−CD8− Helioshi γδ CAR-T cells and a later phase in which a proliferative CD4+ CAR-T cell population is prevalent.
"We can now conclude that CAR-T cells can cure patients with leukemia," June says, according to New Scientist.
CNN notes, though, that the treatment comes with some serious side effects, including tumor lysis syndrome, cytokine release syndrome, and neurologic toxicity.
"I'm doing great right now. I'm still very active. I was running half marathons until 2018," one patient, Doug Olson, who is now 75, tells the Associated Press. "This is a cure. And they don't use the word lightly."
The other patient, Bill Ludwig, also did well following treatment, the AP adds, but died of COVID-19 last year.