New CAR-T Cancer Studies Aim to Treat Those With No Other Options

Using T-Cells to Fight Back

One of the first line treatments for cancer is chemotherapy, which can be a long, stressful process. While some patients certainly benefit from the treatment and see their cancer go into remission, others may not see the same effect. For those chemotherapy has failed, as well as others for whom other treatments were unsuccessful, the recent publishing of two new CAR-T studies may provide some hope.

The first, called  ZUMA-1, details the results of a clinical trial that treated patients who had certain types of large B-cell lymphoma. The patients had failed to responded to, or had relapsed after undergoing, at least two other treatments.

Led by Sattva Neelapu, MD, of the MD Anderson Cancer Center, and Frederick Locke, MD, of the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, the treatment involved genetically modifying a patient’s white blood cells/T-cells to attack cancer cells. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of such treatments in August, saying it’s “committed to helping expedite the development and review of groundbreaking treatments that have the potential to be life-saving.”

111 people across 22 institutions took part in the study and were treated with axi-cel (later renamed to Yescarta). Of those, 82 percent were somewhat responsive to the treatment, while 54 percent experienced a complete response. 42 percent were in remission 15 months after treatment was administered, and some were still cancer free 24 months after treatment.

“With the FDA’s recent approval of this therapy, we believe this is a major advance in the treatment of patients with relapsed or refractory large B-cell lymphoma and is likely to save or prolong lives of many patients,” said Neelapu. “This study demonstrated that axi-cel provides remarkable improvement in outcomes over existing therapies for these patients who have no curative options.”

The second study also utilized modified T-cells to combat cancer cells. The study treated 28 of its 38 patients with CTL019 cells between 2014 and 2016. Complete remission occurred in 6 of 14 patients with large B-cell lymphoma and 10 of 14 patients with follicular lymphoma. As of 2017, all patients in complete remission after 6 months have remained in remission.

Adverse Reactions

There are some side effects to Yescarta, however. According to the study, 95 percent of patients who received the therapy had severe side effects including fever, lower white blood cell and blood platelet counts, and anemia. 64 percent of patients experienced neurological events, including encephalopathy, general confusion and difficulty speaking. While those symptoms were troubling, they typically resolved within two weeks.

Patrick Stiff, MD, director of Loyola’s Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center (one of the institutions that participated in the study) explained that Loyola would begin offering Yescarta in 2018, but only to patients who are specifically selected and have had the pros and cons fully detailed to them.

“We are taking a very measured approach to this new therapy, which is effective, but also potentially toxic,” said Dr. Stiff. “The therapy should not be considered a cure-all, since some of the patients did relapse after the therapy.”

Side effects were also present in the CTL019 study: 5 patients experienced severe cytokine-release syndrome, and another 3 suffered from encephalopathy. Encouragingly, the study did note that “no deaths from cytokine-release syndrome occurred.”

Modifying the body’s own cells to address cancer seems to be the way to go when it comes to potential cancer treatments, and it doesn’t just stop with immune cells. In November, researchers from ETH Zurich and the University of Tokyo developed a way to use nonimmune cells for the same purposes — though it’s still a long way from being used to treat human patients.

That said, the future of cancer treatment research looks bright, despite the risky side effects. Of course, given the potential for serious side effects, these treatments are only being used as a last resort. Hopefully it’s only a matter of time before we find an effective treatment that doesn’t come with additional baggage.

The post New CAR-T Cancer Studies Aim to Treat Those With No Other Options appeared first on Futurism.

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‘Clash of Clans’ Matchmaking Changes Are Live, Cannon Cart Buffed

Supercell has been considering changing its Clash of Clans [Free] matchmaking algorithm substantially to ensure that matches are more even, and today those changes have gone live. The update makes improvements to the algorithm functions. Specifically, the new functionality will change the way the “total weight” of a base is measured with regards to defense and offense. These changes should translate to you playing against people with similar builds, which should make for fairer raids. One of the reasons behind this change is that Supercell doesn’t want to force people to be less creative and more cookie-cutter with their base builds. By changing the way the algorithm works, Supercell hopes that imagination and creativity will be rewarded.

The developers also made the system more flexible so they can tinker with it as they go along. That way, they can quickly jump in and improve matchmaking without having to change too much. Supercell will be keeping a close eye on the wait times now that the algorithm has changed, but it doesn’t expect any major changes. Finally, the update has buffed the Cannon Cart, increasing its movement speed and range. What do you think about the new changes?

 

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Recode Daily: Amazon’s Whole Foods deal upsets the grocery cart for rivals

Plus, tech leaders trek to the White House to help modernize the government, and how Pinterest’s profit-seeking president keeps his cool.

Amazon’s nearly $ 14 billion deal for Whole Foods will have huge ramifications for the biggest players in the grocery business. The acquisition wiped nearly $ 22 billion in market value from rival supermarkets, and casts a cloud over Instacart. Texas Monthly profiles Whole Foods’ eccentric founder, John Mackey, who changed the way Americans consume food. Bloomberg looks back at how Amazon carefully laid the groundwork to take over an iconic grocery chain — and predicts it will push to lower prices and cut jobs.

Leaders from Apple, Google, Microsoft and 10 other top tech companies will meet with President Trump today, as his administration tries to harness Silicon Valley’s expertise in upgrading the dated inner workings of the U.S. government. [Tony Romm / Recode]

Pinterest president Tim Kendall helped the company grow its revenue from less than $ 25 million in 2014 to an expected $ 500 million-plus in 2017; the 40-year-old exec starts his day with a health-hacking ice bath. [Kurt Wagner]

Google detailed how YouTube has been working to identify and remove content that promotes violent extremism and terrorist propaganda. Fast Company talked with YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki about her plan to outmaneuver traditional TV and secure Google’s future. [Andrew Liptak / The Verge]

Two types of companies are equipped to change fast, says Oracle co-CEO Mark Hurd: Innovative startups, and companies in trouble. On the latest episode of Recode Decode, hosted by Kara Swisher, Hurd talked about his efforts to push big changes through at Oracle, even though the 40-year-old enterprise company didn’t fit into either bucket. [Eric Johnson / Recode]

Top stories from Recode

Mobile broadband subscriptions are projected to double in five years.

Thanks to cheaper smartphones and better networks.

Elon Musk thinks he can make getting to Mars cheaper than going to college.

A new paper lays out the plan, and the SpaceX CEO has tweeted that revisions are coming.

Twitter VPs in charge of finance and live video engineering are leaving the company.

A few more notable departures from Twitter.

Google will have to change how it operates in Europe.

The EU will stick Google with a 1 billion euro fine over how it prioritizes Google Shopping.

Snap’s latest ad: A giant yellow Ferris wheel.

Snap wants to show advertisers in Cannes that it’s unique.

This is cool

Breathtaking

Phileas Flash, “the Michelangelo of balloon art,” gives new meaning to “pop culture” with his 3-D portraits of supersized superheroes, breathing life into Groot and Wonder Woman. BoingBoing.net also surfaced the astonishingly detailed work of balloon artist Masayoshi Matsumoto, who inflates and creates critters from skunks to squids. [Phileas Flash / BoredPanda]


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Amazon Dash Wand lets you add items to your cart by scanning or saying their name

As if the Amazon Dash Buttons weren’t cool enough or the fact that you could just tell your Echo to buy things for you, Amazon now has a Dash Wand that lets you tell things you want or scan them before adding them to your cart. The Dash Wand is a tiny handheld device with a microphone and a barcode scanner. When you want to purchase any of the household items, say, shampoo, you can just say “shampoo” or a particular brand name into the Dash Wand or use the barcode scanner on it to scan the barcode on the back of your shampoo bottle. Amazon will use that information to add the item to your…

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This Week’s ‘Hearthstone’ Brawl Is Return of ‘Cart Crash at the Crossroads’

If you like your Hearthstone [Free] classes mixed up or want to get a taste of how two-class decks would look, go play Cart Crash at the Crossroads, this week’s Tavern Brawl. We’ve played this one in the past, but as is the case after every expansion, new cards make for fresh brawls. Cart Crash at the Crossroads has you picking a class and getting a random deck, and on the first turn, you get to Discover another class. While your hero power remains the one of your original class, your deck becomes a mix of random cards from both classes. Keep in mind that your win only count towards quests for the original hero you picked.

As you can guess, some class combinations are more OP than other ones, so experiment a bit to see what works best. I’m hoping to see Brawls where we get to construct decks from two or more classes in the near future because that will make for fun matches.

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