From the blog

Phase I Clinical Trial Underway for CAR T-cell Therapy

Published: May 25, 2017

A Phase I clinical trial for an immunotherapy treatment for malignant pleural mesothelioma and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is currently underway at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Immunotherapy treatments support the body’s immune system response to diseases. It is often looked to as a positive alternative for treating malignancies such as mesothelioma because other options, such as chemotherapy, radiation, and even surgery, can often be ineffective.

The trial involves genetically engineering T-cells so the cells recognize the mesothelin, a type of protein that can be over expressed on human tumors. A T- cell is a type of white blood cell responsible for detecting abnormalities in our cells to prevent infections. In this clinical trial, The T-cells are taken from the patient and administered with a transduction of chimeric antigen receptors (CAR) which enhances the T-cell antitumor function. The new and improved CAR T-cell is then transferred back to the patient to attack the cancerous cells in the mesothelin.

To participate in this study, patients suffering from NSCLC and mesothelioma must meet the following requirements

  • 18 years and older
  • Patients’ tumors must have the over expressed mesothelin protein
  • Four weeks must have passed between any major surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy.


Read more about the inclusion and exclusion criteria for CAR T-cells in Mesothelin Expressing Cancers.

Scientists and researchers are hopeful that this Phase I study, which generally focuses on safety and feasibility of new treatments, will increase Progression-free survival and progression overall survival enough to move forward with Phase II clinical trials.

Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive malignancy caused by asbestos exposure. Prognosis is typically grim; survival rates average to less than one year from the time of initial diagnosis. However, advances in medicine and research have given scientists and researchers the tools to find alternative therapies and continually test new findings.

The CAR T-cells in Mesothelin Expressing Cancers is currently recruiting participants.



Zeltsman M, et. al. “CAR T-cell therapy for lung cancer and malignant pleural mesothelioma,” Translational Research: The Journal of Laboratory and Clinical Medicine (April 26, 2017). [Link]

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