Providing CAR T-Cell Therapy for Patients With DLBCL During COVID-19

November 18, 2020
Nilanjan Ghosh, MD
Nilanjan Ghosh, MD

Nilanjan Ghosh, MD, discusses the effect coronavirus disease 2019 had on using chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy to treat patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma.

Nilanjan Ghosh, MD, a hematologist and medical oncologist at the Levine Cancer Institute, Atrium Health, discusses the effect coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) had on using chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy to treat patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL).

Ghosh says that when the pandemic first started, he and other physicians thought it would not only affect CAR T-cell therapy but also stem cell transplants. CAR T-cell treatments for DLBCL include therapies such as axicabtagene ciloleucel (Yescarta) and tisagenlecleucel (Kymriah). There was a lot of uncertainty around how long the pandemic would last since it started abruptly with many acute cases, which filled intensive care units and hospital beds.

As the months went on, physicians adapted to treating patients during COVID-19, which Ghosh calls the “new normal.” As of October, the pandemic was not affecting the delivery of CAR T-cell therapy for clinical trials and treatment with standard of care in practices. At the beginning of COVID-19, he and his colleagues were doing their best to deliver standard-of-care CAR T therapy, but it did affect CAR T-cell delivery for clinical trials because of regulatory constraints. There were several months where accrual for these trials was limited, but over the past months, many of those constraints have been lifted and the clinical trials have opened back up.