TAMPA, Fla. – A new article published today in The New England Journal of Medicine shows that 42 percent of diffuse large B cell lymphoma patients treated with axicabtagene ciloleucel, offered commercially under the brand name Yescarta™, remain in remission 15 months following therapy. The new long-term results of the ZUMA-1 clinical trial reported measurable responses in 82 percent of patients and complete responses in 54 percent of patients. The findings are also being presented Monday, Dec. 11, at the American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting in Atlanta.

“This is the first FDA-approved gene therapy to treat adult lymphoma. Yescarta consists of the patients’ own T cells that have been reprogrammed, and then reinfused to detect and destroy lymphoma,” said Frederick Locke, M.D., co-first author of the article and vice chair of the Department of Blood and Marrow Transplant and Cellular Immunotherapy at Moffitt Cancer Center. “Many patients’ lymphoma tumors melted away within a month. The long-term follow-up results of the ZUMA-1 trial show that axicabtagene ciloleucel remissions can last many months for those patients that did not respond to chemotherapy.”

Moffitt co-led the national, multi-center ZUMA-1 trial, serving as the first cancer center to treat patients in the investigational setting. Patients enrolled in the study, 108 in total, were diagnosed with aggressive non-Hodgkin lymphoma and had failed two lines of chemotherapy. Moffitt is also the first hospital to deliver commercial infusion, which took place Nov. 27 at the hospital’s main campus in Tampa, with additional patients enrolled and in the process of treatment today.

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.

Most complete responses occurred within the first month of treatment, but some were reported up to one year following therapy. Ongoing durable remissions have been observed in patients two years following treatment.

The study was funded by Kite, a Gilead company, and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Therapy Acceleration Program. Locke serves as a scientific adviser for Kite.

Media Availability: Locke is available for interviews during the ASH Annual Meeting; please contact Kim Polacek, 813-745-7408//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