Fonseca Highlights Data Regarding CAR T-cell Therapy and Bi-Specific Antibodies for Myeloma at 2021 ASH

When asked about abstracts he thinks have the greatest potential to impact the standard of care in myeloma, Rafael Fonseca, MD, looked to emerging cellular therapies, specifically ciltacabtagene autoleucel for the treatment of heavily pretreated disease.

At the 63rd American Society of Hematology Annual Meeting & Exposition, CancerNetwork® sat down with Rafael Fonseca, MD, director of Innovation and Transformational Relationships at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix, Arizona, to discuss emerging topics of importance presented at the meeting. His response focused on the 2-year follow-up results to the phase 1b/2 CARTITUDE-1 trial (NCT03548207) of ciltacabtagene autoleucel (cilta-cel) for the treatment of heavily pretreated multiple myeloma, which showed high rates of response, as well as overall and progression-free survival at that timepoint.


There were many interesting presentations, but one of the sets of presentations that I would say is most exciting is hearing about the effects of the CAR T-cell [therapies] and bi-specific [antibodies]. Everyone is cheering for the bi-specific antibodies just because they are off the shelf and you can use them right away, so you don’t have to deal with anything like production time or things like that.

But as much as we’re all cheering for the bi-specific antibodies, Thomas G. Martin, MD, presented an update of cilta-cel that looks remarkable with close to 100% response rate [in heavily pretreated multiple myeloma]. In jest, I put a picture of him on Twitter and I said, “this is the man who will cure myeloma.” I say in jest because of course, he is part of a larger team, including the folks from Janssen and others that are working on this that have made this a reality. [Regarding] cure tools, we don't know if that’s going to happen, it’s going to take some time and long-term follow up. But if the results continue to hold as we’re seeing them, we can only hope that more and more patients with myeloma will ultimately have durable and permanent control over the disease. Then, we’re going to talk more and more about cures.


Martin T, Usmani S, Berdeja J, et al. Updated results from CARTITUDE-1: phase 1b/2 study of ciltacabtagene autoleucel, a B-cell maturation antigen–directed chimeric antigen receptor T cell therapy, in patients with relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma. Presented at: 63rd American Society of Hematology Annual Meeting and Exposition; December 11-14, 2021; Atlanta, GA. Abstract 549. Accessed December 2, 2021.