CANCER

Kite immunotherapy drug helps blood cancer patients in study

 (iStock)

Kite Pharma Inc on Monday said its experimental CAR T-cell therapy, which helps the immune system fight cancer, was highly effective in treating aggressive non-Hodgkin lymphoma, although two deaths were related to the drug, according to interim data from a midstage trial.

Shares of Kite, which had been halted before the release of the news, rose 11 percent when trading resumed.

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Some 76 percent of patients taking the drug, called KTE-C19, showed significant tumor shrinkage, including 47 percent who had no remaining signs of cancer at least three months after receiving the treatment, Kite said.

CAR T-cell drugs are made by genetically altering a patients' own T-cells to add a component of antibodies that makes them better able to spot and kill cancer cells.