News in brief: PVd triplet therapy now on PBS for MM patients after first relapse; Peter Mac turns to Asia for immunotherapy vectors; Cryopreserved HPC products may be damaged goods in pandemic

Thursday, 30 Sep 2021

PVd triplet therapy now on PBS for MM patients after first relapse

Pomalidomide (Pomalyst) in combination with bortezomib and dexamethasone (PVd) will be reimbursed on the PBS from 1 October for patients with relapsed or refractory  multiple myeloma who have received at least one prior treatment regimen including lenalidomide.

According to distributor Bristol Myers Squibb, the thalidomide analogue was approved based on findings from the OPTIMISMM trial which showed progression free survival of 11.2 months in patients treated with the PVd triplet therapy compared to 7.10 months in patients receiving  bortezomib and dexamethasone. Patients who had received at least one line of prior therapy showed a PFS of 20.73 months compared to 11.63 months for the Vd combination.

Professor Andrew Spencer, Head of the Malignant Haematology and Stem Cell Transplantation Service at The Alfred Hospital said the reimbursement of PVd triplet therapy for use in patients as early as first relapse “underscores the potential clinical benefit the regimen can provide this patient population.”

Peter Mac turns to Asia for immunotherapy vectors

Victoria’s Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre  is to partner with a Singapore company to manufacture and supply lentiviral vectors for their in-house pipeline of cell-based immunotherapies for the treatment of cancer.

Peter Mac has announced it will work with CellVec to source the lentiviral vectors that are a critical component in the generation of advanced cell and gene therapies such as CAR-T cells.

The partnership comes at a time when immunotherapy treatment centres face a long-term global shortage of lentiviral vectors, which has led to bottlenecks in supply of this crucial component of cell-based immunotherapy manufacturing.

“We are honoured and excited to embark on this meaningful partnership with a world-class institution like Peter Mac to reach more cancer patients within Australia,” said Dr Gayatri Sharma, Chief Commercial Officer of CellVec.

Cryopreserved HPC products may be damaged goods in pandemic

A switch to cryopreserved haematopoietic transplantation products during the COVID-19 pandemic has allowed allogeneic transplant services to continue, albeit with some quality concerns.

Haematologists at the Blood and Marrow Transplant Program, Fiona Stanley Hospital, Perth led a study into 191 HPC products collected between April and September 2021.

They found that outcomes such as post-thaw CD34 recovery, viability, time to neutrophil recovery and graft failure were similar to those of ‘fresh’ unrelated donor transplants used in 2019.

However, problems were reported with 29% of products in the form of damage during transit, low cell dose, inadequate labelling, missing representative samples or missing documentation. These problems were critical in 4% of  cases and led to 12% of products not being infused, the investigators reported in Transplantation and Cellular Therapy.

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