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MOLAB researchers suggest ways to improve the treatment of B-cell pediatric leukemias using CAR-T cells
Friday September 11, 2020

Immunotherapies use components of the patient immune system to selectively target cancer cells. The use of CAR T cells to treat B-cell malignancies --leukaemias and lymphomas-- is one of the most successful examples, with many patients experiencing long-lasting complete responses to this therapy. This treatment works by extracting the patient's T cells and adding them the CAR group, which enables them to recognize and target cells carrying the antigen CD19+, that is expressed in these haematological tumors. 

In a recent work submitted for publication to the prestigious mathematical journal Communications in Nonlinear Science and Numerical Simulation, MOLAB researchers have we put forward a mathematical model describing the time response of leukaemias to the injection of CAR T-cells. The model accounts for mature and progenitor B-cells, tumor cells, CAR T cells and side effects by incorporating the main biological processes involved. The model explains the early post-injection dynamics of the different compartments and the fact that the number of CAR T cells injected does not critically affect the treatment outcome. An explicit formula is found that provides the maximum CAR T cell expansion in-vivo and the severity of side effects. The mathematical model captures other known features of the response to this immunotherapy. 

Interestingly, the model predicts that CD19+ tumor relapses observed in a fraction of patients could be the result of the competition between tumor and CAR T cells analogous to predator-prey dynamics and thus a transient phenomenon. Also MOLAB researchers show the possibility of controlling relapses by early re-challenging of the tumor with stored CAR T cells.

The preprint of this research is available here:

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