Cutting-edge CAR-T cell therapy transforms immune system cells to target and attack cancers.
Traditionally, doctors had three approaches to treating cancer: surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy. More recently, drugs designed to attack cancer cells have been added, known as targeted therapy. But now, a new type of treatment is FDA approved and has transformed treatment options for certain types of cancer: Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T cell immunotherapy, which attacks and kills cancer by adapting millions of a person's own immune system cells.
White blood cells or T-cells, involved in the immune system response, are removed from the patient's blood.
T-cells are genetically modified to recognize cancer cells, and multiplied in a lab.
The modified cells are infused back into the patient, where they will travel throughout the body looking for cancer cells.
These millions of cells detect and kill cancer cells.
People are selected to receive CAR-T cell therapy only if they have certain forms of blood cancer that are resistant to other therapies. Doctors will consult with patients about what options are available to them. If CAR-T cell therapy is selected, patients will also undergo chemotherapy, and must remain at or near the treatment center for a period of time.
Studies have shown CAR-T cell therapy offers excellent results for people with specific blood cancers that returned after previous treatment(s).
40 - 54%
No signs of cancer remaining after treatment of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma
No signs of cancer remaining after treatment of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL)
Sources: mayoclinic.org; cancer.gov; lls.org; nejm.org
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