Global First: Chinese CAR-T Therapy Simultaneously Cures Tumor and Lupus Erythematosus

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Wang Fang (pseudonym), residing in Yichang, Hubei, China, underwent a life-threatening ordeal. This patient in her forties had been suffering from systemic lupus erythematosus for over 20 years. What exacerbated her agony was the excruciating pain in her right leg since June 2019, which forced her into a wheelchair. Local hospital diagnosis revealed an aggressively invasive tumor—diffuse large B-cell lymphoma.
In mid-August 2019, Wang Fang followed a relative’s advice and sought treatment at Peking University Shenzhen Hospital (hereinafter referred to as “PKU Shenzhen Hospital”) in Shenzhen, where she was fortunate to participate in clinical trials for blood tumors. In mid-September 2019, she underwent the compound dual-target CAR-T (CD19/BCMA) cell immunotherapy.
Miraculous changes occurred a month after treatment; her lymphoma vanished entirely. Two months later, she was freed from the wheelchair and could walk independently. The nine-month follow-up, more astonishingly, revealed not only the complete disappearance of lymphoma but also the reversal of her long-standing stubborn lupus erythematosus antibodies, signifying her clinical cure from lupus.
This is the first documented instance globally where compound dual-target CAR-T cell immunotherapy cured diffuse large B-cell lymphoma and refractory lupus erythematosus—a significant breakthrough in Shenzhen’s oncology clinical research and treatment field.
This patient, originally from another region, had relied on steroids and other drugs to manage her condition for over 20 years due to systemic lupus erythematosus. However, the intensified pain in her right leg in June 2019 led to the diagnosis of an invasive tumor, rapidly deteriorating her condition and confining her to a wheelchair.
When faced with chemotherapy recommendations at the local hospital, Wang Fang declined due to the side effects she had previously experienced. Fortunately, a relative’s recommendation brought her to PKU Shenzhen Hospital. With the doctors’ dedicated assistance, Wang Fang participated in the clinical trial of CAR-T cell immunotherapy.
CAR-T cell therapy is an advanced treatment method that transforms a patient’s own T cells into CAR-T cells capable of identifying and attacking tumor cells. Since its successful treatment of the first case of acute lymphoblastic leukemia in the United States in 2012, this treatment has gradually become a groundbreaking technology in the field of tumor therapy. The Blood Department of PKU Shenzhen Hospital, as a pioneer, has completed over 30 cases of CAR-T cell therapy clinical trials, offering hope for those patients in critical conditions with ineffective traditional treatments.
Considering the uniqueness of Wang Fang’s disease, the team designed a compound dual-target CAR-T cell immunotherapy targeting both CD19 and BCMA. The success of this advanced therapy made Wang Fang the first case globally to be cured of lupus erythematosus using CAR-T cell therapy.
One month after treatment, she no longer needed wheelchair assistance; two months later, she could walk independently; and nine months later, besides the complete eradication of the tumor, the lupus erythematosus-related antibodies turned negative, leading to her clinical cure without relying on medication for her daily life.
Director Zhang Hongyu from the Blood Department of PKU Shenzhen Hospital stated that this successful case marks a significant breakthrough in CAR-T cell therapy, offering the possibility of cure to more patients. This successful clinical trial was also reported at the 61st American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting, highlighting PKU Shenzhen Hospital’s significant contributions to the medical field.
After enduring this arduous battle, Wang Fang has regained her health and freedom. She expresses gratitude for the exceptional skills and selfless assistance of the medical team at PKU Shenzhen Hospital. Currently, for nine months, she has not taken any medication, regaining her beautiful hair and radiating vitality, looking forward to the future.
The appearance of this successful case brings hope and inspiration to the global medical community, showcasing the potential of CAR-T cell therapy in continuous exploration. The Blood Department team at PKU Shenzhen Hospital intends to continue exploring more effective and safer treatment approaches, bringing more hope for patients.

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