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New approach supercharges immunotherapy

hemotherapy which destroys the bone marrow, then giving the patient his stem cells back to repopulate the marrow. Fourteen days later, the patients receive their expanded, co-stimulated T cells.

So far the team has enrolled nearly 20 patients. Some are still receiving therapy. Because of advanced disease, rapid progression of the cancer during therapy, or the difficulties of harvesting and growing T cells, only eight patients have so far received their expanded T cells.

Six of those eight patients have had what appear to be complete remissions, but it remains unclear how long they will last. After an average of 305 days, two of those patients had relapsed. The recurrent disease "in some cases," said Liebowitz "appears to be less aggressive."

"We can't claim to have cured anyone," added Liebowitz, "but we seem to have altered the natural history of the disease, to have significantly slowed progression in selected patients."

The co-stimulation technology, which uses tiny magnetic beads covered with monoclonal antibodies to CD3 and CD28, was developed and patented by Thompson at the University of Chicago and Dr. Carl June at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. The University of Chicago's ARCH Development Corporation has licensed the technology for development to Xcyte Therapies, based in Seattle. Thompson, Bluestone and June are founding scientists at the company.


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Contact: John Easton
jeaston@mcis.bsd.uchicago.edu
773-702-6241
University of Chicago Medical Center
5-Dec-1998


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