Take back control

I have been thinking a lot about Control lately.

How the second you get diagnosed you lose control over your life.  

It doesn’t matter if you are a control freak or not – we now lost control. We are not sure how we’re going to feel tomorrow morning, we’re not sure about what’s going to happen, what our options are, what we are supposed to do now, and what we should expect. 
Unfortunately this loss of control is even slightly encouraged by the environment and system. Doctors do not really allow us to have control, the information we get is very limited, and only ever so slightly tailored to us… and it doesn’t have to be that way.  

One of the things we need to understand is that there things we don’t have control over, but also things we do. Which treatment we deserve is one of them. We deserve full visibility to what treatments we can get and we deserve the right to choose what’s right for us.  If we take back control of what we can, and what we deserve, this journey can be more tolerable, and potentially more successful. 

 

This is why it is so important to learn as much as we can about the different treatments available. 

One of the latest advanced treatments that’s been discussed much lately is CAR T/Cell Therapy, and there are dozens more out there

Here at TrialJectory we encourage all patients to learn and understand as much as possible about new treatments so patients REALLY understand their options, and are able to take back control of their life.

 

Remember, we’re always here for you! Reach out to us any time at clinicalteam@trialjectory.com for guidance around your specific cancer.

 

Tzvia Bader,

Co-Founder, Cancer Survivor, CEO

Take back control2021-04-26T16:16:58+00:00

CAR T Cell Therapy Talk

Did you miss Dr. Joshua Mansour’s webinar? You can view it anytime here

 

Dr. Joshua Mansour is a board certified hematologist and oncologist  with additional training at Stanford in cell therapy and bone marrow transplantation. In our talk, he focuses on the innovations and progress in CAR T cell therapy while also discussing cell therapy as a whole, the difference between cell therapy and CAR T cell therapy, the steps of CAR T cell therapy, and more details about this form of cancer treatment.

 

What is cell therapy?

The simple definition of cell therapy is a treatment in which cells are transfused or injected into a patient to cause a specific response. This is a broad field of study that can include different cell treatments, including transplantation of the patient’s own cells, transplantation of donor cells, and CAR T cell therapy.

 

CAR T cell therapy has been around for over 20 years now and is a type of immunotherapy that helps T cells recognize cancerous cells in the body and attack them. It can be described as a “lock and key method” because it works through specificity.

 

How does CAR T cell therapy work?

In this treatment, blood is removed from the patient, which T cells are extracted from. They are then given to a lab where a Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) is attached to the cells, and are given time to multiply in the lab. Then, the CAR T cells are infused back into the patient with the new receptor protein, which is able to recognize and attack cancer cells.

 

Who is eligible for CAR T cell therapy?

Not every patient can undergo CAR T cell therapy. Some factors that have to be looked at prior to treatment are:

  • The patient’s blood counts
  • The relative disease stability of the patient
  • The patient’s ability to tolerate toxicity

 

What are potential side effects to this treatment?

One side effect that is almost always expected to some extent is cytokine release syndrome. This usually starts from day 1-3 of treatment and continues for several days. Cytokine release syndrome can have various symptoms, the most common ones being fevers, shortness of breath, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

 

Another common side effect is neurotoxicity, which usually starts on day 3-5 of treatment and ends around day 5-8. Patients will be asked to answer a set of questions 2-3 times a day in the early stages of treatment to detect signs of neurotoxicity and treat it as soon as possible.

 

What is the process and experience like for the patient?

Patients will first have their blood removed and sent to a lab. While they wait for the CAR T cells to be ready, patients undergo low-dose chemotherapy treatment to manage their cancer and suppress the patient’s microenvironment. Once the CAR T cells are ready, they are injected into the patient.

 

Dr. Mansour typically tells his patients to expect to be in the hospital for 2-3 weeks total for the treatment including the low-dose chemotherapy. Patients will often experience fatigue and other side effects after infusion which can last for as little as a few days of as long as a few months.

 

After being released from the hospital, patients will be given antiviral and antibacterial therapy because parts of their immune system will be subdued from treatment.

 

Where are we today with CAR T cell therapy?

Today, there are several CAR T cell therapies that are FDA approved, but patients will typically only use them if they have already exhausted all other traditional therapies. All of the current approved therapies relate to liquid tumors, but solid tumor CAR T cell therapy is currently on the rise with several clinical trials.

 

There are currently many ongoing CAR T cell therapy clinical trials for various cancer types, and Dr. Mansour urged patients to check the Trialjectory website and other resources to see if there were any available trials for their cancer type.

 

In today’s world, the COVID-19 pandemic is a crucial topic of discussion for any treatment. Patients undergoing CAR T cell therapy are more vulnerable to infections as a whole, which includes COVID, but this is true for other cancer treatments as well. Patients can still get this therapy if they have already received the COVID vaccine. However, because of the way the immune system reacts to CAR T cell therapy, Dr. Mansour generally tells his patient to wait about 100 days after treatment to get the COVID vaccine if they have not gotten it already.

 

Where is the future of CAR T cell therapy headed?

 

Researchers are looking to make several improvements to CAR T cell therapy in the future. For one, they are working to make chemotherapy an out-patient process to minimize time spent at the hospital. Another important goal is to try and make this treatment safer to patients by decreasing side effects.

 

On the technical side of the treatment, researchers are trying to increase the targets and proteins for this treatment. They are also looking to make more progress into solid tumors and solve problems relating to penetration of the tumor, which has been a significant challenge thus far.

CAR T Cell Therapy Talk2021-03-29T09:37:15+00:00

Myelofibrosis News

Latest News in MF Cancer Research

 

Myelofibrosis (MF) is a rare type of bone marrow cancer that disrupts normal production of blood cells. MF usually develops slowly, and initially a patient may not notice any symptoms, but over time patients begin to experience fatigue as a result of anemia (low red blood cell counts), pain from an enlarged spleen, fever, bone pain, and easy bruising and swelling.

 

Patients in more advanced stages of the disease require aggressive treatments which have mainly focused on relieving symptoms. A common treatment for MF is allogeneic stem cell transplantation, but unfortunately this is not an option for most MF patients because it is risky for older adults. Because of this, clinical trials may be the best treatment choice for some MF patients.

 

Hematoxylin compounds in targeting CALR mutant cancer cells

 

Back in 2013, it was discovered that certain mutations of a gene called calreticulin, known as CALR, were often found in patients with MF. Since then, researchers have been able to identify and understand how the mutated version of this gene functions. This led them to understand that CALR works by interacting with a certain receptor that has to do with platelet formation.

 

In 2020, researchers at the research group of Robert Kralovics at CeMM were looking for ways to stop this interaction and stop the growth of CALR mutated cells. They found a certain group of chemicals that was able to selectively kill mutated CALR cells while leaving healthy cells unaffected. The chemical that worked most notably was hematoxylin, which is a chemical that has been used as a dye for staining cells in laboratory work in the past.

 

This study shows the potential that CALR inhibitor therapy has for MF patients, and especially primary myelofibrosis (PMF) patients. Kralovics said that the treatment of patients with PMF has had poor clinical outcomes up until this point, and since about a third of PMF patients have a CALR mutation, this new therapeutic approach could benefit them in particular.

 

https://www.news-medical.net/news/20201210/Hematoxylin-compounds-can-selectively-kill-CALR-mutant-cancer-cells.aspx

 

Momelotinib as a treatment for MF

 

There have been studies in the past that used JAK inhibitors (a type of medication that stops the activity of a certain gene called JAK that has to do with cell growth) to treat MF. However, while these treatments did help with the enlarged spleen and some other symptoms of MF patients, they worsened other symptoms like anemia and thrombocytopenia (low platelet levels).

 

A new treatment has been developed using a drug called momelotinib. This drug is similar to the older treatments as it is a JAK inhibitor, but it also inhibits another gene called ACVR1. Inhibiting this gene causes a decrease in the levels of hepcidin, a hormone that controls iron balance in the body, which can potentially improve anemia in MF patients.

 

Results from clinical trials involving momelotinib have shown promising results, and the drug is currently being investigated in a phase 3 study. The several studies that have already been completed show that momelotinib has potential as a new treatment option for MF patients.

 

https://www.targetedonc.com/view/data-support-momelotinib-as-a-differentiated-approach-to-treating-myelofibrosis

Myelofibrosis News2021-02-04T09:44:13+00:00

[VIDEO] Latest Advancements in Cancer Treatment: Live Q&A with Avital Gaziel, PhD Cancer Researcher

Watch Our Head of Medical Affairs, co-founder, and PhD Cancer Researcher, Avital Gaziel, Discuss the Latest Advancements in Cancer Treatment

Avital discusses the latest innovations in immunotherapy, targeted therapy, and other new forms of cancer treatment, as well as answers questions this Q&A style zoom.

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[VIDEO] Latest Advancements in Cancer Treatment: Live Q&A with Avital Gaziel, PhD Cancer Researcher2020-07-16T13:51:31+00:00