A combination of therapies may be effective in treating patients with the most common form of childhood cancer, when that cancer has returned after treatment or hasn’t responded to treatment. That’s the finding in a recent study from researchers including UVA pediatric oncologist Dr. Daniel “Trey” Lee. The study looked at 50 young patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia who had received CAR T-cell therapy, in which a patient’s own immune cells are modified to attack cancer cells. While the therapy leads to remission for 60 to 100 percent of patients, the relapse rate can be extremely high. In the study, however, when patients went on to receive a stem-cell transplant from a donor, only 9.5 percent experienced relapse within 24 months. By contrast, all the patients achieving remission with CAR T-cell therapy alone had relapsed within that time.
Led by Olympians Kate Douglass (Col ’23) and Alex Walsh (Col ’24), the team broke seven American records in its decisive win.