Chimeric antigen receptor-modified T cells (CART)-meso, a type of investigational adoptive immunotherapy, were well tolerated, persisted in the blood circulation, and successfully migrated to tumor sites in patients with advanced cancers, preliminary findings of a phase I clinical trial presented this week at the 2015 Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) have shown.

“CAR T cells are patients’ own immune cells called T cells, modified to produce specific immunoreceptors, which can identify tumor cells that were not visible to the T cells previously.

In this case, the T cells were modified to target tumor cells that express a protein called mesothelin on their surface [hence the name CART-meso], so that the T cells can identify them and kill them,” said Janos L. Tanyi, MD, PhD, an assistant professor in the Division of Gynecologic Oncology at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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Researchers treated five patients with advanced mesothelin-expressing tumors and found that the modified T cells were able to persist in the patients’ blood circulation for up to 28 days and successfully migrated to tumor sites.

Results also showed that there were no major adverse events associated with the immunotherapy.

Researchers plan to follow the patients annually for up to 15 years to assess future adverse events as well as whether the technology can prevent disease recurrence.


  1. Tanyi JL, Haas AR, Beatty GL. Safety and feasibility of chimeric antigen receptor modified T cells directed against mesothelin (CART-meso) in patients with mesothelin expressing cancers. Presented at: AACR Annual Meeting 2015; April, 2015; Philadelphia, PA.