TAMPA, Fla. Moffitt Cancer Center announced that last week it treated the first patient commercially in the United States with the recently Food and Drug Administration-approved Yescarta, a Chimeric Antigen Receptor T cell, or CAR T, therapy for patients with diffuse large B cell lymphoma, an aggressive form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. As commercial use for Yescarta gets underway, Moffitt is actively enrolling eligible patients, with ten individuals awaiting treatment.

“We are proud to lead worldwide efforts in this next phase of CAR T treatment for lymphoma patients and bring this critical innovation to as many patients as possible,” said Frederick Locke, M.D., vice chair of the Department of Blood and Marrow Transplant and Cellular Immunotherapy at Moffitt. “The clinical trials showed us the incredible results this treatment can have for patients; we expect many lives will be extended as commercial opportunity expands first from the United States, to other countries around the world.”

Yescarta, the first CAR-T therapy approved by the FDA for adult lymphoma, is indicated for patients whose cancer has failed two lines of chemotherapy. CAR T is a personalized therapy using a patient’s own immune cells, or T cells, to fight cancer. For this treatment, a patient’s T cells are removed and engineered with additional receptors to help identify, attack and ultimately destroy the cancer cells.  The re-engineered T cells are then infused back into the patient’s body in a single treatment, enabling the body’s immune system to better combat the disease.

Moffitt co-led the ZUMA-1 national clinical trial, serving as the first cancer center to treat patients in the investigational setting, in addition to the first commercial infusion, which took place Nov. 27 at the hospital’s main campus in Tampa. Of the Moffitt patients currently enrolled, one has received the CAR T infusion, six have undergone the initial T cell removal process known as apheresis, and four are scheduled for T cell removal in the next few weeks.

Yescarta, which is manufactured by Kite, a Gilead Company, received FDA approval on Oct. 18. Moffitt will present additional findings from the ZUMA-1 clinical trial, as well as results from new CAR T therapy trials, at the American Society of Hematology Annual Meeting Dec. 9-12 in Atlanta.

For more information on the commercial enrollment process or to speak with Locke and the Moffitt Cellular Immunotherapy team, please contact Kim Polacek at 813-745-7408 or Kim.Polacek@Moffitt.org.

About Moffitt Cancer Center
Moffitt is dedicated to one lifesaving mission: to contribute to the prevention and cure of cancer. The Tampa-based facility is one of only 49 National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers, a distinction that recognizes Moffitt’s excellence in research, clinical trials, prevention and cancer control. Moffitt is listed as one of the top 10 cancer hospitals in the nation and has been listed in U.S. News & World Report as one of the “Best Hospitals” for cancer care since 1999. Moffitt devotes more than 2 million square feet to research and patient care. Moffitt’s expert nursing staff is recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center with Magnet® status, its highest distinction. With more than 5,600 team members, Moffitt has an economic impact in the state of $2.1 billion. For more information, call 1-888-MOFFITT (1-888-663-3488), visit MOFFITT.org, and follow the momentum on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube