From OHC, Specialists in the Treatment of Adult Cancers and Blood Disorders

October 22, 2019

OHC, the region’s leading cancer experts, has opened two new clinical trials to evaluate an expanded use of the ground-breaking treatment, chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy (CAR-T), making this life-changing treatment available to more patients.

Not all patients diagnosed with a blood cancer experience a response from traditional treatments. Others aren’t eligible for treatments due to other medical conditions they have. For these patients, OHC is offering CAR-T, a revolutionary treatment that’s changing the approach to cancer. OHC has been using CAR-T for one year for patients with aggressive blood cancers, almost half of those patients have experienced a remission, offering a viable option where there was once no hope.

Now OHC has taken a step to expand the use to more patients through its nationally-recognized clinical trials program.

OHC is expanding the use of CAR-T.
During the CAR-T procedure, immune system cells are removed from a patient, sent to a lab where they are trained to recognize and attack cancer cells. The cells are infused back into the patient where they multiply and attack the cancer. The cells remain in the body and, if the cancer returns, researchers believe they may attack the returning cancer.

“We have just opened two clinical trials that could allow more patients to benefit from this remarkable treatment,” said OHC’s James H. Essell, MD, medical oncologist, hematologist, and blood and marrow transplant specialist. Dr. Essell is a national expert and author who is also leading the CAR-T program for The US Oncology Network as Chair, Cellular Therapies.

Both OHC trials are evaluating JCAR017, a new CAR-T therapy by Juno Therapeutics that has demonstrated fewer sides effects.

A clinical trial for cancer patients with complex conditions.
“When we have a patient with aggressive B-cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma who, for example, does not have normal kidney function, they are not eligible for a stem cell transplant. They also are not eligible for current CAR-T therapy because it could be too hard on the kidneys,” said Dr. Essell. “Now we have JCAR017. It has shown to have fewer side effects, so we think it could be ideal for cancer patients with other health challenges or are over 70 years old. If the clinical trial is successful, we can expand CAR-T to these patients.”

A second clinical trial for unresponsive blood cancers.
“This Phase 2 clinical trial is also evaluating the safety and effectiveness of CAR-T using JCAR017, but for a different set of cancer patients. Patients whose B-cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma didn’t initially respond to chemotherapy or it returned after chemotherapy will receive CAR-T,” Dr. Essell explained. “This is exciting because the standard of care is chemotherapy, a stem cell transplant and then CAR-T. In this trial, we’re going straight from chemotherapy to CAR-T, and we believe this will become the newest evolution in the standard of care for certain blood cancers.”

The two clinical trials will also examine the administration of JCAR017 in an OHC office setting.

The importance of these clinical trials is they allow OHC to offer patients what could be the next gold standard of care. As data is collected, OHC can help determine if these treatments are ready for FDA approval and widespread use. What we are doing at OHC could impact patients across the globe.

“It’s exciting when we learn about new advancements in cancer research and treatments. But it’s a whole different ball game when we get to offer those advancements to patients right here in this region,” Dr. Essell added. “We aren’t just reading about it. We’re making it available and giving our patients hope.”

OHC’s nationally-recognized clinical trials program provides patients with early access to promising new treatments. For more information or a list of clinical trials, visit here. If you’d like a second opinion, please visit or call 1-800-710-4674.

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