Autologous stem cell transplant (ASCT) is a treatment for multiple myeloma in which some of a patient’s stem cells are removed before chemotherapy and returned to the patient to help re-establish the patient’s immune system after chemotherapy. However, in some patients, the myeloma returns quickly thereafter, or does not respond well to this treatment. Occasionally, the disease can also progress to what is called “plasma cell leukemia.”
In this study, researchers are assessing the feasibility of using specialized white blood cells from a stem cell donor to treat patients with multiple myeloma that persists despite chemotherapy and ASCT, or those who have plasma cell leukemia. These cells, called Wilms tumor antigen 1 (WT1)-sensitized T cells, are grown in a lab and immunized against the WT1 protein, which is overproduced and expressed by malignant myeloma cells. These WT1-sensitized T cells are given after allogeneic stem cell transplantation (use of stem cells from a donor). It is hoped that the WT1-sensitized T cells, when given to the patients, will attach to the WT1 protein and kill the myeloma cells.