Frits van Rhee, M.D., Ph.D., professor and director of the Myeloma Center at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, and Charles and Clydene Scharlau Chair for Hematological Malignancies, discusses future research directions with CAR T-cell therapy for the treatment of patients with multiple myeloma. This was published at OncLive on Sep. 3, 2021.
First of all, [we must determine how to best] fit this therapy into the existing treatment algorithm of myeloma. One could foresee giving this therapy early, for instance, in patients who have an early relapse on frontline therapy. Perhaps the CAR T cells could also be used for patients who are diagnosed with quite aggressive disease. They could be given as an additional therapy up front and perhaps even at some stage as a replacement of autologous stem cell transplantation.
The other major opportunity is to understand how we can approve upon the existing CAR T-cell therapies. One of the reasons CAR T-cell therapy is so exciting is that the results [we have were] obtained with the first generation of [products]. We need to better understand how we can make the CAR T cells better persist in patients, how we can make them survive longer, and how we can [prolong] their antimyeloma effect. [We also need to understand what] allows myeloma cells to escape from CAR T-cell therapy and how the bone marrow microenvironment affects the efficacy of CAR T cells.