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CHOP Researchers Examine Impact of Socioeconomic Status on CAR T-Cell Therapy Outcomes

A team of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) researchers led by Haley Newman, MD, and PC3I Innovation Faculty Allison Barz Leahy, MD, MSCE, has found that household exposure to poverty does not significantly impact overall survival or complete remission rates of children and young adults receiving CAR T-cell therapy for reduced/refractory acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).

Through CAR T-cell therapy, a patient’s T cells are modified in a laboratory to target and bind to cancer cells through the addition of a gene for a special receptor called a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR). CAR T-cell therapy has shown promise in improving outcomes for patients with ALL – but this type of therapy can be expensive and thus inaccessible for many patients.

Allison Barz Leahy

With this in mind, Drs. Newman, Leahy, and colleagues sought to understand how socioeconomic status might affect patients’ outcomes (overall survival and complete remission rates). Socioeconomic status was broken down by household-level exposure to poverty (determined by insurance type) and neighborhood opportunity (determined by census tract). They collected outcomes data of 206 children and young adults with reduced/refractory ALL treated at CHOP with CAR-T cell therapy.

The team found no significant difference in overall survival or complete remission rate between those of lower socioeconomic status (household-poverty exposed patients or living in lower opportunity neighborhoods) and those from more advantaged households (unexposed to household poverty or living in higher opportunity neighborhoods).

Further information on the implications of these findings can be found in a press release by the American Society of Hematology. The study, “Impact of poverty and neighborhood opportunity on outcomes for children treated with 2 CD19-directed CAR T-cell therapy,” was published in Blood on November 10, 2022.



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