Researchers from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) have found that economically disadvantaged children treated with CAR T-cell therapy for relapsed/refractory acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) fair just as well as children from more socioeconomically advantaged backgrounds. The study, published in Blood, found no differences in overall survival or complete remission rates among children and young adults with different levels of poverty exposure and neighborhood opportunity.
“This study shows us that patients from disadvantaged households do well with CAR T-cell therapy,” said first author Haley Newman, MD, a pediatric oncology fellow in the Cancer Center and Cancer Immunotherapy Program at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “To me, that says that we need to make this therapy more accessible, whether that be through new interventions, or providing more resources for families, like transportation and funding for medical leave.”
CAR T-cell therapy is a type of immunotherapy that involves collecting a patient’s T cells, modifying them to recognize and attack cancer cells, and infusing the resulting “living drug” back into patients to eradicate the cancer. Though successful in treating ALL, it can be expensive, time-intensive, and largely out of reach for many marginalized groups.
Dr. Newman and colleagues analyzed the outcomes of 206 children and young adults with relapsed/refractory ALL who were treated with CAR T at CHOP. Using clinical trial datasets and electronic medical records, the researchers then sorted patients by socioeconomic and neighborhood opportunity exposures, which they determined using insurance types and patient addresses.
The results revealed that there was no significant difference in overall survival or complete remission rates between household-poverty exposed patients with lower neighborhood opportunity and those from more advantaged households.
Learn more about this study in this press release from the journal.