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Rationale for Ibrutinib/CAR T-Cell Therapy Combination in CLL

Jordan Gauthier, MD
Published Online:9:20 PM, Tue January 8, 2019

Jordan Gauthier, MD, a senior clinical research fellow at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, discusses the rationale for combining ibrutinib (Imbruvica) with CD19-targeting chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells for the treatment of patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL).

While CAR T cells have been successful in aggressive lymphomas, acute lymphocytic leukemia, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma, the results have not been as good in CLL, Gauthier says. However, ibrutinib can be beneficial by helping CLL cells migrate from the lymph nodes to the peripheral blood and can help improve the functionality of the CAR T cells.

Gauthier says there is also evidence that the BTK inhibitor can prevent cytokine release syndrome, which is a common toxicity seen after CAR T-cell therapy.
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