There are two great myths in science. The first is of the lone inventor, emerging from the basement laboratory with an “ah ha” moment as they solve the mysteries of life. The second is that drug development proceeds down a straight path from product conception to approval. Such narratives can be incredibly alluring. They fuel discussion around Nobel Prizes, which cannot be awarded to groups larger than three, or the narrative that scientific innovation can be planned. These myths fail miserably in explaining how modern medicine creates breakthroughs.
The reality is that champions for breakthrough innovation live at every level and around every corner. Champions are those who allow as many people as possible to dream big, learn together and collaborate across areas of expertise to achieve a common goal. That’s the model we at Allogene, and others in the industry, follow in an effort to impact patients on a global scale.
Allogene’s work in allogeneic CAR T therapy is built on the shoulders of academia, government institutions, and industry pioneers such as Kite, a Gilead company, and Novartis who commercialized the first wave of autologous CAR T products. Multiple scientific advances were required to bring first-generation CAR T therapies to patients, and now that these therapies have been approved, they became the foundation for an explosion in innovation. In the two years since these first CAR T therapies received U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval, there are now more than 360 ongoing clinical trials globally involving CAR T therapies. Data from these clinical trials will continue to shape the cell therapy landscape, creating building blocks of learning, and enriching the scientific foundation for new therapies that will advance the field of cancer treatment and medicine.
The clinical development of allogeneic CAR T therapies and early learnings from clinical trials are just beginning to offer the hope of what may be possible in the next chapter. Our success as an industry will be defined by our impact on patients — can the therapies be made readily available, how many patients will respond, how long can disease be held in remission, is it possible for therapies to be curative, and what does this mean for quality of life? We are striving not only to treat disease with our therapies, but also to give patients the best possible outcome that scientific innovation can achieve.
When Allogene was launched in 2018, we set out to break down scientific barriers, revolutionize patient care, and ultimately eradicate cancer. We set out to champion what’s possible with the next revolution of cell therapy.
No one does this alone. The path is never a straight line. The journey of scientific discovery has many travelers and many turns. But the port at the end journey, the ability to change the life of a patient with scientific breakthroughs — that isn’t a myth. That is creating a new reality.
For more information about Allogene, visit www.allogene.com.