Seattle Children's Research Institute's Reprogrammed T Cell Immunotherapy Clinical Trial Boasts 85% Complete Remission Rate In Children With Relapsed Leukemia

SEATTLE, Dec. 9, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Seattle Children's today announced that 11 of the 13 patients treated thus far in a clinical trial using genetically reprogrammed T cells to treat relapsed acute lymphoblastic leukemia have achieved complete remission, confirmed by highly sensitive tests designed to detect minute amounts of cancer cells.

In a presentation at the American Society of Hematology Annual Meeting in San Francisco last night, lead investigator and Seattle Children's oncologist, Dr. Rebecca Gardner, shared data on the patients treated thus far in Seattle Children's Pediatric Leukemia Adoptive Therapy-02 (PLAT-02) clinical trial. The trial includes patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia who have relapsed after a bone marrow transplant and typically have only a 10% to 20% chance of survival with standard treatment. Using immunotherapy, which reprograms the body's T cells to hunt down and destroy cancer cells, researchers have seen an 85% complete remission rate.

"In this population of patients, a treatment with a 20% response rate would be considered a success," said Gardner, who is an investigator with Ben Towne Center for Childhood Cancer Research at Seattle Children's Research Institute and an acting assistant professor at the University of Washington. "Having 11 out of 13 patients achieve a complete remission is incredible, but we will keep working until we have 100% in remission."  

In the first phase of the trial, Gardner treated 13 patients with relapsed acute lymphoblastic leukemia using cancer immunotherapy. This phase was designed to demonstrate the safety and efficacy of cancer immunotherapy as a treatment for leukemia and to determine the optimal dose of engineered T cells to administer to patients. Of the 13 patients treated, 12 responded to the treatment and 11 achieved complete remission. One of these patients has since relapsed; the remaining ten are in ongoing remission. The second phase of the trial, which is expected to begin in 2015, will allow even more patients to be treated with what researchers determine is the optimal dose of reengineered T cells.

"Our goal is to eventually offer immunotherapy to patients when they are first diagnosed with cancer so they don't have to endure transplants or prolonged chemotherapy and radiation," said Dr. Mike Jensen, director of Ben Towne Center for Childhood Cancer Research and one of the pioneers of immunotherapy.

The tremendous success of immunotherapy as a treatment for leukemia has propelled researchers at Seattle Children's to begin a clinical trial for neuroblastoma, one of the deadliest forms of childhood cancer. Phase 1 of that trial, which was recently authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, is now recruiting patients.

For more information on immunotherapy research trials at Seattle Children's, please call (206) 987-2106 or email

About Seattle Children's

Three simple words define Seattle Children's Hospital, Foundation and Research Institute Hope. Care. Cure. Together, the three deliver superior patient care, advance new discoveries and treatments through pediatric research, and serve as the pediatric and adolescent academic medical referral center for Washington, Alaska, Montana and Idaho the largest region of any children's hospital in the country.

Consistently ranked as one of the best children's hospitals in the country by U.S. News & World Report, Seattle Children's Hospital specializes in meeting the unique physical, emotional and developmental needs of children from infancy through young adulthood. For more than 100 years, the hospital has been dedicated to providing top-quality care to every child in who needs it, regardless of the family's ability to pay.

Seattle Children's Hospital and Research Foundation gathers community support and raises funds for Seattle Children's Hospital and Seattle Children's Research Institute.

Located in downtown Seattle's biotech corridor, Seattle Children's Research Institute is pushing the boundaries of medical research to find cures for pediatric diseases and improve outcomes for children all over the world. Internationally recognized investigators and staff at the research institute are advancing new discoveries in cancer, genetics, immunology, pathology, infectious disease, injury prevention and bioethics, among others.

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SOURCE Seattle Childrens

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