We are excited to learn that Kite Pharma announced yesterday they will initiate personalized cellular immunotherapies before the end of 2016. These therapies will target certain sub-segments of the KRAS-mutant cancer patient population (KRAS-mutations are a biomarker of colorectal cancer). This new technology will use living immune cells as the “drug.”

An upcoming announcement will provide detail about which sub-segments will be targeted and what testing will be required to know if a patient is eligible. It is important for us to highlight that the basis for Phase 1 clinical trials is usually animal model testing or preliminary findings in at most a few patients. This means that even if preliminary data look promising, they are very early and need clinical confirmation.

As discussed in our Currently Incurable Scientist Blog last January, this type of therapy enters into the ultimate areas of personalized immunotherapy. This has been explored for a number of years, for example at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) under the direction of Steven A. Rosenberg, M.D., Ph.D., Chief of the Surgery Branch at the NCI.

Realistically, it will take months to years to know how well these therapies work for trial-eligible KRAS-mutant cancer patients and multiple years before they may become available outside of a clinical trial.

The research is now being transferred for more extensive clinical trial testing through a commercialization partnership with Kite Pharma. The findings of this type of research can potentially help many people, or at least serve as foundation to continue our research initiatives.

Stay tuned! Fight Colorectal Cancer and the Currently Incurable Scientist will stay on top of the details and will, as always, explain them to you in easy-to-understand layperson language as they are announced.




Dr. Tom Marsilje is a >20-year oncology research scientist with “currently incurable” stage IV non-MSI colon cancer and is a Colon Club 2016 Colondar 2.0 model. He also writes a personal blog on life at the intersection of being both a cancer patient and researcher “Adventures in Living Terminally Optimistic” and posts updates to Twitter @CurrentIncurSci. As mentioned in his introductory post to this monthly column, he is a Ph.D. scientist and not a M.D. He exclusively gives his opinions on the “science” of experimental therapies – nothing written should be misinterpreted as implying medical advice.