CAR-T cell therapy leads to long-term remission in lupus while maintaining vaccine response

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New research at ACR Convergence 2023, the American College of Rheumatology’s annual meeting, demonstrates that CAR-T cell therapy could lead to sustained suppression of autoantibodies in treatment-resistant lupus while maintaining a robust response to vaccines. Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE, lupus) is a complex autoimmune disease marked by the production of autoantibodies to nucleic acid DNA and nuclear protein autoantigens and is associated with dysfunctional B cells. It mainly affects women and is more common and severe in people who are Black, Hispanic, or Asian. Lupus can lead to a wide range of systemic problems varying in severity, including skin, kidney, lung, joints, and heart disease and complications during pregnancy. The disease often requires lifelong treatment with immunosuppressive or immunomodulatory drugs, and a considerable number of patients don’t respond to them. One theoretical option for these patients is chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T cell therapy, which is successfully used to treat refractory blood cancers by destroying malignant cells. “We were intrigued by the possibility that a deep B cells depletion exerted by CAR-T cells could lead to permanent eradication of the autoimmune disease,” says Georg Schett, MD, a rheumatologist at the University Hospital Erlangen in Germany. CAR-T cells are created by removing some of a patient’s white blood cells, including immune system T cells, and genetically altering them in a lab to produce chimeric antigen receptors (CARs). The modifications allow the treated T cells to recognize and destroy antigens on the surface of target pathogenic cells after they are infused back into the patient.

By American College of Rheumatology

Article can be accessed on: MedicalXpress