World Lymphoma Awareness Day 2023: Man With Recurrent Lymphoma Fully Cured With CAR-T Therapy
cancer cells

World Lymphoma Awareness Day 2023: CAR-T therapy is a revolutionary treatment for cancer and is now in clinical trials in India.

A revolutionary immunotherapy, known as Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy or CAR-T therapy is showing promising results for relapsed leukemia and lymphoma patients. A 64-year-old man with recurrent non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) has been fully cured of using this innovative cancer treatment method.

On the occasion of World Lymphoma Awareness Day 2023, Narayana Health announced that it has successfully conducted CAR-T trial for relapsed leukemia and lymphoma in collaboration with Immuneel Therapeutics.

What is Lymphoma?

Lymphoma is a cancer of the lymph glands that are present in various parts of the body, mainly the neck, armpits, groin chest, and abdomen. There are 2 types of lymphomas: Hodgkin and Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (NHL).

“These are common varieties of blood-related cancers,” said Dr Sharat Damodar, Chairman Oncology Collegium, Clinical Director, Mazumdar Shaw Medical Center, Narayana Health.

Lymphoma cases in India

The number of new cases annually for NHL in men and women in India are 2.9/100,000 and 1.5/100,000, population respectively. These rates are about one-fourth of the rates reported from Western Europe or North America. Within India, data suggests the incidence is several-fold higher in urban than rural areas; implying that urban lifestyles and economic progress may increase the cancer incidence.

Treatment of Lymphoma

According to the expert, Chemotherapy is the standard of care along with monoclonal antibody therapies in non-Hodgkin lymphoma. In Hodgkin lymphoma, the newer monoclonal antibody is available and has been recommended in the upfront treatment.

Lymphoma may come back in some patients

In spite of all these advances in cancer treatment, the cure rate for Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (NHL) is in the 60 to 70% range, and 30 to 40 % of patients will relapse with the disease, said Dr Damodar.

According to the doctor, relapsed patients has a poor outcome even with further chemotherapy and stem cell transplant, and half of them will not be eligible to undergo a transplant. Hence, they need some form of treatment that is not toxic to the body like chemotherapy, and that could be used for the majority of patients even with other major illnesses.

CAR-T therapy for recurrent non-Hodgkin lymphoma

Experts bat for CART therapy which is a form of treatment in which the patient’s own white blood cells called T cells are collected and an antigen receptor is transduced using a viral vector. The T cell is now armed with this receptor and targets the cancer cell which expresses the corresponding receptor and kills it. This is like sniper shooting instead of carpet bombing. This is a way of getting the body’s own T cells to kill the cancer cells.

CART therapy is a revolutionary treatment for cancer and is now in clinical trials in India and will soon be available as therapy for patients. Narayana Health has successfully conducted a CAR-T trial for relapsed leukemia and lymphoma with excellent outcomes, added Dr Damodar.

64-year-old relapsed lymphoma patient fully cured

The patient was first diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) in 2015 and he underwent six cycles of chemotherapy followed by maintenance antibody therapy.

“He had a relapse of his disease in October 2020 and received further chemotherapy followed by a stem cell transplant on February 03, 2021. He again relapsed in September 2021 and received more treatment but continued to have disease progress and hence finally underwent CAR-T therapy in July last year. His follow-up at one year with a PET scan shows no evidence of disease. He is fully cured. This is the magic of CAR-T therapy in an elderly patient with multiple recurrences of disease,” said Dr Damodar.

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