News from the BioCity Campus

First in Europe: All approved CAR-T cell therapy products are available at the University Hospital Leipzig (UKL).

Chimeric Antigen Receptor T Cell Therapy (CAR-T): Genetically programmed immune cell binds to and destroys cancer cell / Therapy is now available for the majority of indications

Leipzig. Hope for seriously ill patients with hematological cancer: The University Hospital Leipzig (UKL) is the first clinic in Europe to have the opportunity to use all approved CAR T cell therapy products. The last certification process will also be completed in January 2023. This means that those affected can now receive these therapies for a majority of the indications at the clinic and polyclinic for hematology, cell therapy and hemostaseology headed by Prof. Uwe Platzbecker.

 Obtaining certification not only means signing a contract with the manufacturer of the respective preparation, but also includes numerous training courses as well as extensive and strict audits, for example by the Paul Ehrlich Institute or the medical service of the health insurance companies. "The last of these audits took place on December 20th and we passed everything with flying colours," reports Dr. Vladan Vucinic, Senior Physician of the Hematology and cell therapy.

"CAR-T cell therapy is quite complex," he explains. “The special feature here is that the patient’s own defense cells are used as the starting material.” CAR-T stands for "Chimeric Antigen Receptor T" cell therapy, since it is not an antibody that binds and destroys the cancer cell, but rather the immune cell, i.e. the T cell itself.

The required components are "washed out" directly from the patient's blood by means of apheresis, also known as blood exchange or blood washing, and passed on to the preparation manufacturer for "genetic reprogramming". There, the immune cells are manipulated in such a way that they take targeted action against a very specific tumor after they have been returned to the patients at the UKL.

"Apheresis, i.e. blood washing, is also done here at the UKL, the associated unit and laboratory are also certified," emphasizes Dr. Vucinic out.

"We used such a therapy for the first time on a patient in June 300.000, the production costs of which are around 2019 euros. It is now exactly 80," says senior physician Dr. Vucinic. In cooperation with the Leipzig Fraunhofer Institute for Cell Therapy and Immunology (IZI) and the Institute for Clinical Immunology At the UKL, several research projects are currently running on these therapies, both clinical and translational in nature.

Overview of all certified preparations (trade name, active ingredient) and their areas of application:

  1. Tisagenlecleucel (Kymriah®):

    – Refractory or relapsed B-acute lymphocytic leukemia aged up to 25 years
    – follicular lymphoma after two previous lines of therapy,
    – Aggressive B-cell lymphoma after two previous lines of therapy

  2. Axicabtagene ciloleucel (Yescarta®):

    – aggressive B-cell lymphomas from the second line of therapy,
    – Follicular lymphoma after three previous lines of therapy

  3. Brexucabtagene autoleucel (Tecartus®):

    – mantle cell lymphoma after two previous lines of therapy,
    - Refractory and relapsed B-acute lymphoblastic leukemia in adult patients (over 26 years of age)

  4. Lisocabtagene maraleucel (Breyanzi®):

    – Aggressive B-cell lymphoma after two previous lines of therapy

  5. Idecabtagene vicleucel (Abecma®):

    – Multiple myeloma after at least three prior lines of therapy

  6. Ciltacabtagene autoleucel (Carvykti®):

    – Multiple myeloma after at least three prior lines of therapy


Source: Press release UKL from 30.12.2022

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