Acute lymphoblastic leukemia : a new treatment effective among young people

Health 3 February, 2018


Published the 03.02.2018 at 08: 00


Keywords :

Chronic lymphocytic leukemia

Last year, the FDA, the u.s. agency of the drug, has given its green light to a treatment : Kymriah (tisagenlecleucel), developed by the laboratory Novartis. To conduct their research, scientists around the world have focused on children and young adults with lymphoblastic leukemia acute in relapse or resistant to previous treatments. The results of the study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, shows the chances of remission given by the Kymriah.

A treatment by gene therapy

The Kymriah is the first treatment with gene therapy approved in the Us. Concretely, it is based on “cells BECAUSE-T”, that is to say, cells genetically reprogrammed. Doctors take immune cells (called T lymphocytes) on the patient. These are then modified and expanded, and then reinjected.

A remission rate of 81%

To carry out this study, the researchers follow-up of young patients treated in 25 centers, scattered around the world. They analyzed the rates of remission, global, following an injection of Kymriah, in the following three months. Results: an overall rate of remission in the three-month high at 81%.

Beware of side effects

If the results of the study reflect the effectiveness of the treatment, the Kymriah results in side effects that can be very powerful. 73% of patients analysed have been of the side effects that may be related to the therapy. Among them, the release of cytokines, also called “shock cytokinique”.

A deadly risk

The immune cells of the patient fight the cancer cells. This releases molecules : cytokines. In too large quantities, they cause effects usually close to the flu-like state, so benin. But it can be more severe, with, for example, the fall of the blood pressure, kidney problems, or even the decrease of oxygen in the blood. According to the FDA, the shock cytokinique can be fatal. Patients should therefore be followed very closely.