US regulator stops leukemia treatment trial after three patients die

BMJ 2016; 354 doi: (Published 14 July 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;354:i3893
  1. Nigel Hawkes
  1. London

A trial of a promising immunological treatment for leukemia has been stopped by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) after three patients died.

The treatment for acute lymphocytic leukemia involved engineering T cells taken from a patient’s blood so that they recognized specific antigens on the surface of tumor cells. The modified T cells were grown in a laboratory and were reintroduced into the patient to attack and destroy the tumor.

The engineering process made the T cells produce …

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