Allogene reports patient death tied to its CAR-T drug

Allogene Therapeutics said Nov. 4 that one of its patients in a clinical trial for its multiple myeloma CAR-T drug died of fungal pneumonia.

The California-based biotech company also said that four patients contracted serious infections. The patient who died was diagnosed with fungal pneumonia eight days after receiving the CAR-T drug. 

Investigators attributed the pneumonia to the chemotherapy patients receive right before receiving  CAR-T therapy. Analysts were divided on how large a role the CAR-T drug played in the patient’s death and how concerned to be if it is linked to the drug, according to Endpoints News

The drugmaker said three out of five patients treated with a high-dose of the CAR-T therapy responded to it; one patient showed a complete response; and another a very good partial response. 

Allogene said it will be releasing more results Dec. 5. 

The patient death is the latest in a string of CAR-T-related deaths reported since July. That month, the FDA put a clinical hold on French drugmaker Cellectis’ trial for its off-the-shelf CAR-T therapy after a patient died of cardiac arrest. 

In August, the FDA halted San Diego-based drugmaker Poseida Therapeutics’ clinical trial of a CAR-T therapy after a patient died of liver failure. 

In late October, an off-the-shelf CAR-T cell therapy being developed by CRISPR Therapeutics was also tied to a patient’s death

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