John Theurer Cancer Center part of multi-center study with National Cancer Institute and Kite Pharma for CAR-T Cell Therapy Study Showing Very Impressive Results in Aggressive Lymphoma Refractory to Chemotherapy

March 6, 2017

Immunotherapy is without any doubt changing the field of cancer. One of the most promising approaches is through chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CAR-T) T-cells, which have led to very impressive activity in refractory aggressive lymphoma. John Theurer Cancer Center (JTCC) at Hackensack University Medical Center was part of this critical large multi-center study (ZUMA-2 trial) which confirmed the activity of this groundbreaking approach. For almost a decade JTCC has been involved in novel cellular therapies to improve the outcome of patients with blood cancers, working with the NCI and KITE Pharma, which is seeking FDA approval for the therapy.

“Across the study KTE-C19, showed that 36 percent of patients achieved a complete response at 6 months and responses were highly durable. This is quite remarkable for patients with aggressive B-cell Non-Hodgkin lymphoma refractory to multiline of prior chemotherapy” said Andre Goy, M.D., Chairman and Director, Chief of Lymphoma at JTCC. “We hope this will soon provide a true hope and option for patients who failed standard therapy including high dose chemotherapy.”

CAR-T cell therapy is an extraordinary new modality of immunotherapy, in which T cells from patients themselves – which can’t fight the cancer cells – are harvested and “supercharged” through gene therapy and can then eliminate rapidly large amount of lymphoma or leukemia cells. KITE Pharma recently announced the promising results of its study, which saw cancer shrink in over 82 percent of patients and 36 percent of patients achieved a complete remission. KITE Pharma is now seeking FDA approval for this innovative therapy.

“I am very proud that JTCC has been involved in CAR-T cell therapy for nearly a decade with the NCI and KITE Pharma,” said Dr. Goy. “CAR-T cell therapy is one of the first forms of gene therapy in cancer and one of the most impressive new tools in immunotherapy. CAR-T cell therapy has shown remarkable activity in many B-cell lymphomas subtypes and refractory lymphoblastic leukemia, opening an entire new chapter in cancer care.”

JTCC has been involved with CAR-T cell therapy since the NCI developed the approach several years ago and has presented a number of their studies over the years. At the 58th American Society of Hematology’s (ASH) Annual Meeting & Exposition in December 2016, Dr. Goy presented a late-breaking abstract Kte-C19 (anti-CD19 CAR T Cells) and refractory aggressive non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) called “LBA-6: Kte-C19 (anti-CD19 CAR T Cells) Induces Complete Remissions in Patients with Refractory Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma (DLBCL): Results from the Pivotal Phase 2 ZUMA-1,” which found that KTE-C19 demonstrates significant clinical benefits in patients with no curative treatment options. In January 2016, JTCC and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) researchers published a study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, which demonstrates that CAR-T therapy can induce remission of certain blood cancers that may progress after a patient receives stem cell transplantation, while reducing the risk of a potentially fatal post-transplant complication known as graft-versus-host disease (GVHD).

“Dr. Goy and JTCC are at the forefront of novel therapies development,” said Robert C. Garrett, co-CEO, Hackensack Meridian Health. “Hackensack Meridian Health is proud of the groundbreaking achievements JTCC is making and believes their innovative work will lead to incredible advances in treating aggressive forms of cancer.”


John Theurer Cancer Center at Hackensack University Medical Center is New Jersey’s largest and most comprehensive center dedicated to the diagnosis, treatment, management, research, screenings, and preventive care as well as survivorship of patients with all types of cancers. The 14 specialized divisions covering the complete spectrum of cancer care have developed a close-knit team of medical, research, nursing, and support staff with specialized expertise that translates into more advanced, focused care for all patients. Each year, more people in the New Jersey/New York metropolitan area turn to the John Theurer Cancer Center for cancer care than to any other facility in New Jersey. Housed within a 775-bed not-for-profit teaching, tertiary care, and research hospital, the John Theurer Cancer Center provides state-of-the-art technological advances, compassionate care, research innovations, medical expertise, and a full range of aftercare services that distinguish the John Theurer Cancer Center from other facilities.


Hackensack Meridian Health is a leading not-for-profit health care organization that is the most comprehensive and truly integrated health care network in New Jersey, offering a complete range of medical services, innovative research and life-enhancing care. Hackensack Meridian Health comprises 13 hospitals, including two academic medical centers, two children’s hospitals and nine community hospitals, physician practices, more than 120 ambulatory care centers, surgery centers, home health services, long-term care and assisted living communities, ambulance services, lifesaving air medical transportation, fitness and wellness centers, rehabilitation centers, and urgent care and after-hours centers. Hackensack Meridian Health has 28,000 team members, more than 6,000 physicians and is a distinguished leader in health care philanthropy, committed to the health and well-being of the communities it serves.

The Network’s notable distinctions include having one of only five major academic medical centers in the nation to receive Healthgrades America’s 50 Best Hospitals Award for five or more consecutive years, the number one hospital in New Jersey as ranked by U.S. News and World Report, consistently achieving Magnet® recognition for nursing excellence from the American Nurses Credentialing Center, recipient of the John M. Eisenberg Award for Patient Safety and Quality from The Joint Commission and the National Quality Forum, a six-time recipient of Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For,” one of the “20 Best Workplaces in Health Care” in the nation, and the number one “Best Place to Work for Women.” Hackensack Meridian Health is a member of AllSpire Health Partners, an interstate consortium of leading health systems, to focus on the sharing of best practices in clinical care and achieving efficiencies.

The hospitals of Hackensack Meridian Health include: academic medical centers – HackensackUMC in Hackensack, Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune; children’s hospitals – Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital in Hackensack, K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital in Neptune; community hospitals – Ocean Medical Center in Brick, Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank, HackensackUMC Mountainside in Montclair, HackensackUMC Palisades in North Bergen, Raritan Bay Medical Center in Perth Amboy, Southern Ocean Medical Center in Manahawkin, Bayshore Community Hospital in Holmdel, Raritan Bay Medical Center in Old Bridge, and HackensackUMC at Pascack Valley in Westwood.

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