Dr. Takanori Teshima is Professor of Medicine in the Division of Hematology and Deputy-director of Hokkaido University Hospital. He serves as a president of Japanese Society of Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation (JSHCT), an executive director of Japanese Society of Hematology (JSH) and Japan Society of Transfusion Medicine and Cell Therapy (JSTMCT). His clinical and research interests are hematopoietic stem cell transplantation and cellular therapy specifically using Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cells for hematologic malignancies.
Recent advances in cellular therapy for hematologic malignancies
In 2019, two novel treatment strategies against hematologic malignancies such as leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma have been approved in Japan; one utilizes patient’ own immune cells and the other uses family member’s immune cells. Chimeric antigen receptor T cells (CAR-T) are patient’ s T cells that have been genetically engineered to attack own cancer cells. CAR-T can cure B-cell leukemia and lymphoma that had been resistant to cancer chemotherapies. Allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) has been curative treatment for hematologic malignancies but required an HLA-identical donor. However, birthrate is declining in most counties and therefore bone marrow banking is required. We developed HLA-haploidentical HCT in Japan. The donor is typically a family member who shares only one of the 2 HLA haplotypes. Now all the patients who requires HCT to fight cancer can have a donor in their own family, eliminate the needs of bone marrow banking. These two strategies provide chance of cure in patients with hematologic malignancies that are refractory to standard treatments.