Adoptive T-cell therapy has given promising results in a Phase II clinical trial for treatment of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML), a rare, life-threatening brain infection with a predilection for patients with cancer and other immune deficiency diseases. The study, held at the Department of Stem Cell Transplantation and Cellular Therapy, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Centre, showed remarkable improvement in three PML patients infused with T-cells directed at the BK virus.
The study was led by Professor Katy Rezvani, who expressed that because of the genetic similarities and sharing of proteins between JC and BK viruses, T-cells developed against BK virus are also effective against JC virus infection. The results offer hope to the patients suffering with the potentially fatal, demyelinating disease of the central nervous system characterized by widespread, multiple lesions due to oligodendrocytic infection by JC virus. Following the first infusion, all three patients witnessed a reduction in JC viral load in their cerebrospinal fluid. Viral loads dropped significantly from 700 to 78 copies in the first patient, from 230,000 to 5,200 in the second patient, and from 4,300 to 1,300 in the third patient. Patients 1 and 3 showed remarkable clinical improvement with significant reduction in JC virus load in their cerebrospinal fluid, and there were no infusion-related reactions.
Complete report can be read here