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Union Hospital Achieved Breakthrough in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Treatment with CAR-T Therapy

Time:May 31, 2023

Expert team of the Institute of Hematology, Union Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology has applied CAR-T cell immunotherapy to treat systemic lupus erythematosus(SLE). Two weeks after CAR-T infusion, the inflammatory and Immunological indicators of Ms. Rao, the patient, have returned to normal level.




The patient and experts from the Institute of Hematology


Ms. Rao, the patient, has been suffering from SLE for nearly 11 years. However, her  treatment effect before was not ideal, so she took the initiative to participate in the registered clinical study of CAR-T therapy for SLE carried out by the Institute of Hematology of Union Hospital. The results of preliminary examinations showed that Ms. Rao met the inclusion criteria for CAR-T treatment of SLE. Professor Mei Heng's team carefully formulated a plan based on her condition and started treatment preparation accordingly. Ms. Rao’s mononuclear cell collection began on February 28th, followed by lymphodepletion on March 22nd. On March 28th, 20 million CAR-modified T cells slowly infused into Ms. Rao's veins to target B cells, unleashing a precise and effective attack against the disease.


On May 4th, the 38th day after CAR-T infusion,Ms. Rao’s follow-up examination results showed that all vital indicators had dropped to within the normal range. Symptoms such as oral ulcers, swollen purple skin, and hair loss had significantly relieved. This means that she has become the first SLE patient that has been successfully treated with CAR-T therapy in Union Hospital.


The full name of CAR-T therapy is "chimeric antigen receptor T cell immunotherapy", which represents a new type of precise targeted immunotherapy that has shown significant advantages in the treatment of hematological tumors. " SLE is a chronic autoimmune disease that damages multiple systems in the body, such as blood, kidneys, and skin. Safe and effective treatments for SLE patients based on the targeted principle of CAR-T cell therapy, can significantly improve their quality of life", noted Professor Mei Heng. The Institute of Hematology is leading the first registered clinical study of CAR-T treatment for moderate or severe active SLE in the country, which will systematically explore the application of CD19 CAR-T in the treatment of adult SLE patients, and has clarified the pharmacokinetic characteristics of this treatment for the first time with a prospect of opening up new possibilities for  the treatment of intractable SLE.


"CAR-T cell products with different innovative structures are developed for different diseases. The dosage of cells and the target patient populations need to be clearly defined, and doctors must pay special attention to the safety issues in cellular immunotherapy,” said Professor Hu Yu, Director of the Institute of Hematology.


Currently, the Hubei Clinical Medicine Research Center of Oncology Cell Therapy, which is based on the Institute of Hematology, Union Hospital, has developed a wide range of target structures for CAR-T and TCR-T therapies, including CD19, CD22, BCMA, CD7, CD38, CD30, CD123, CS1, and CD7. These innovative therapies have been used in over 20 clinical trials and have benefited 412 patients with refractory and relapsed hematological diseases.


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Edited by: International Exchange Office