Re-engineering the body's immune system to better find and destroy cancer cells is incredibly intriguing, and at this year's annual American Society of Clinical Oncology conference, both Kite Pharma (NASDAQ: KITE) and Juno Therapeutics (NASDAQ:JUNO) presented data showing that patients with cancer respond to their therapies. Can Kite Pharma and Juno Therapeutics reshape how doctors treat cancer?
In this clip from The Motley Fool's Industry Focus: Healthcare podcast, host Kristine Harjes and contributor Todd Campbell discuss the new CAR-T data and its potential impact.
A transcript follows the video.
This podcast was recorded on June 8, 2016.
Kristine Harjes: It seems like the CAR-T developers were, in general, taking victory laps.
Todd Campbell: We haven't talked about CAR-T lately on the show. We talked about it a bunch of...
Harjes: Let's remind the listeners what it is. Good idea.
Campbell: Yeah, we talked a lot about it last year. Just to give a quick 10-second elevator pitch on it, what you're talking about is a type of cancer drug that reenergizes or supercharges the immune system to better find and destroy cancer or the cancer cells. It does that by removing the T-cells from the patients' bodies, reengineering to be able to find particular proteins that cells exhibit and then reintroducing those cells back into the patient's body, setting those T-cells loose to go and find and kill those cancer cells. It's a very, very interesting and intriguing proposition. The data that came out of ASCO certainly adds support to the concept that CAR-Ts could be a game-changing way of treating blood cancer specifically.
Harjes: Did any particular companies stand out to you?
Campbell: The two companies that I think are the ones that are investable or should be considered by investors are Juno Therapeutics and Kite Pharma. Those two companies are both working on programs that address significant unmet need in things like acute lymphoblastic leukemia, for example. Juno, which has actually teamed up with Celgene, had a bunch of different data come out of ASCO on JCAR015, JCAR014, JCAR017. I think that the thing that investors need to know is that the news that came out or what they released at ASCO was that these drugs work incredibly well versus what's on the market today. JCAR015 had complete responses in up to 91% of patients that were dosed. JCAR014 had response at 100% of patients with relapsing acute lymphoblastic leukemia responded to that treatment. JCAR017, 93% of pediatric and young adult patients with ALL saw a complete remission. Just really pretty outstanding results in these patient populations.
Harjes: Yeah, these numbers were pretty amazing, very, very encouraging. The thing to remember for investors is that these are still fairly early-stage companies.