Supporting Promising Trials in Seattle

The following was shared by Seattle Cancer Care Alliance.

SAA – Seattle Volunteers and Participants visit the Swim Across America-Cellular Therapy Lab at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance

In the past few years, immunotherapy has produced unprecedented breakthroughs in cancer research. SCCA’s Swim Across America Cell Therapy Laboratory (SAA-CTL) is at the leading edge of this work and SAA-Seattle funding has been critical in supporting the clinical trials that bring this research to patients. SAA-Seattle grants allow us to train technologists in the theory and practice of complex cell processing methods and helps provide sophisticated instrumentation required for these methods. An example of our SAA-Seattle funded research is the Chimeric Antigen T Cell Receptor (CAR T) immunotherapy, which involves selecting and genetically modifying certain lymphocytes to be able to recognize and kill tumor cells. In 2014, SAA-Seattle grants enabled us to initiate the first CAR T clinical trial at SCCA. This trial has produced remarkable results: the complete remission (CR) rate in refractory (unresponsive to other therapies) B Cell Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia was 94% and the CR rate in refractory Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma was 64%. This profound success allowed additional patients to be treated, including 35 new patients in 2016. Three more trials using similar technology are beginning in 2017.

SAA-Seattle has played a vital role in supporting groundbreaking research at SCCA. Thanks to SAA-Seattle funding, we have become a center of excellence for selecting particular cells that contribute to an “anti-cancer” effect while removing the other cells (naïve T lymphocytes) that can cause graft vs host disease. This concept has been a sort of holy grail for the treatment of hematological malignancies (certain types of leukemia) through transplantation and trials supported by SAA-Seattle funds have shown extraordinary results. These naïve T cell depletion and CAR T study results have been published in top tier journals.

We hope you’ll join us this September 9th at the 2017 SAA – Seattle open water swim to ‘Make Waves to Fight Cancer.’