Lupus remits in five patients after CAR-T cell therapy

Lupus, a chronic disease in which the patient's immune system attacks different organs and tissues causing damage and inflammation, remains a mystery to doctors. It affects approximately 0.1% of the world population, with a high prevalence in young women.

It is caused by autoantibodies —immune defense molecules that attack the body's own cells— and damages joints and skin, and can cause serious damage to organs such as the kidneys, brain and heart.

Most patients are treated with glucocorticoids and therapies directed at T cells or antibody-producing B cells. However, at the moment there is no cure, although it can be controlled with medications capable of regulating the immune system and curbing inflammation.

In addition, the recent arrival of new biological therapies has opened new avenues of treatment that will improve the quality of life of patients. This is the case of CAR-T cells.

According to a study published today in the magazine Natural Medicinea drug-free remission of up to 17 months after this treatment has been demonstrated in five patients with systemic lupus erythematosus.

How CAR-T cells work

To arrive at these promising findings, the research team, led by Georg Schett of the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany, treated five patients (four women and one man) with T-cell refractory systemic lupus erythematosus with chimeric antigen receptors (CAR) anti-CD19.

According to the authors, these cells are designed to eliminate antibody-producing B lymphocytes by targeting the CD19 protein on their surface.

During follow-up (between 3 and 17 months after treatment), all patients had experienced an improvement in symptoms, including remission of internal organ involvement, as well as disappearance of autoantibodies related to the disease, without the need for continue receiving conventional therapies.

The team notes that the usual side effects associated with CAR-T cell therapy were mild (for example, fever) and no infections were seen.

More studies to prove its safety

Although these results could constitute a new therapeutic option for patients with this pathology, longer follow-up in larger clinical trials is necessary to determine the safety and efficacy of CAR-T cell therapy in this context, the researchers warn. .

Anti-CD19 CAR T cell therapy for refractory systemic lupus erythematosus. Nature Medicine DOI 10.1038/s41591-022-02017-5

Source link