This study is evaluating a new gene therapy for patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) that persists despite standard chemotherapy. The therapy uses white blood cells called T cells that have been modified to recognize and kill leukemia cells by targeting a protein on CLL cells called CD19.
The modification is achieved by taking T cells from a patient’s blood and inserting a gene into them. The goal of this study is to find the optimal dose of these modified T cells that can be given to patients with CLL that persists despite initial chemotherapy.
T cells that were modified in this way were shown to cure a cancer similar to CLL in mice. Early studies in patients who received the therapy showed tumor shrinkage or a slowing of tumor growth in some patients.