CAR T-Cell Therapy Clinical Trial Program at Stony Brook University Cancer Center: Q&A with Huda Salman, MD, PhD

By Hillary Eames
Thursday, July 29, 2021
Huda Salman, MD, PhD

Huda Salman, MD, PhD

Dr. Salman is spearheading an advanced clinical trial testing the use of CAR T-cell therapy for the treatment of complex cancers.

Huda Salman, MD, PhD, is a board-certified hematologist and oncologist, Director of the CAR T-Cell Therapy Program and Section Chief of Hematologic Malignancies Services at Stony Brook University Cancer Center. Also an associate professor at the Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University, Dr. Salman received one of six FDA grants awarded for researching the treatment of rare diseases. Her grant, which totaled more than $3 million, will fund her clinical trial research in the use of CAR T-cell therapy, specifically in the treatment of acute lymphoblastic leukemia and T-cell lymphoma.

Q: What should physicians know about this clinical trial available at Stony Brook Cancer Center? What makes it significant in the scope of cancer research?

A: CAR T-cell therapy is a new cancer treatment paradigm that genetically modifies patients’ own T cells with proteins to target cancer cells. It’s often recommended for patients who have not responded to other forms of cancer treatment, such as chemotherapy. The FDA has granted approval for its use in the treatment of some forms of cancer, and these treatments are also available at the Cancer Center.

The current CAR T-cell therapy used in our clinical trial, however, is unique and available only at our facility. We are using CAR T-cell therapy to target CD4 proteins, a technique that’s never been used before, for the treatment of two cancers that are difficult to cure. Thus far, the results have exceeded my expectations.

Q: How do you foresee CAR T-cell therapy shaping the future of cancer treatment?

A: Based on available research, I believe there is a genuine hope and possibility that CAR T-cell therapy has the potential to become the new standard of cancer care. These clinical trials are how drugs are developed. If a treatment is expected to perform better than the current standard of care, we use trials such as these to compare them. If the therapies are proven to be successful at treatment, they become the new standard of care. Clinical trials such as the ones available at Stony Brook Cancer Center provide patients access to advanced treatments and therapies, while also furthering the field of oncological research and helping us improve patient care.

Q: What are the added benefits of oncological care at Stony Brook Cancer Center?

A: We utilize a multidisciplinary approach where patients are not just treated for cancer. Patients receive leading-edge care provided by expert physicians with a very specialized clinical focus — experts in their field. In addition, a multidisciplinary approach allows us to treat complications very easily. Our cancer care team includes specialists across the cancer disciplines of surgical oncology, medical oncology and radiation oncology who work together to offer advanced treatments. In addition to this strong foundation, we have leading-edge diagnostic modalities, including advanced imaging and oncology specialized nurses, nutritionists, social workers and other allied staff to offer the most comprehensive cancer care, for both inpatient and outpatient medicine — all at one site.

Visit to learn more about the use of CAR T-cell therapy in cancer care.