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CAR T-Cell Therapy

What is CAR T-cell therapy?

CAR T Cells: Engineering Patients’ Immune Cells to Treat Their Cancers

For decades, the foundations of cancer treatment have been surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. These continue to be critical mainstays of treatment, but new categories of treatment have recently helped transform the treatment picture for people with cancer.

    • Targeted Therapies
      The 2000s marked the emergence of targeted therapies like imatinib (Gleevec) and trastuzumab (Herceptin)—drugs that find and kill cancer cells by homing in on specific molecular changes seen primarily in those cells. Dozens of targeted therapies are now standard treatments for many cancers.

    • Immunotherapies
      And over the past decade, immunotherapy—therapies that enlist and strengthen the power of a patient’s immune system to attack tumors—has rapidly become what many call the “fifth pillar” of cancer treatment. That’s because immune system–boosting drugs have shown the ability to shrink, and even eradicate, tumors in some people with advanced cancer. In a small percentage of patients, these treatment responses can last for years.

    • Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors
      Drugs called immune checkpoint inhibitors, for instance, are already in broad use to treat people with many types of cancer, including melanoma, lung, kidney, bladder, and lymphoma.

    • CAR T-Cell Therapy
      Another form of immunotherapy, called CAR T-cell therapy, has also generated substantial excitement among researchers and oncologists. Although CAR T-Cell therapies are not as widely used as immune checkpoint inhibitors, they have shown the same ability to eradicate very advanced leukemias and lymphomas and to keep the cancer at bay for many years.

Overview of the CAR T-Cell Therapy

Since 2017, six CAR T-cell therapies have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). All are approved for the treatment of blood cancers, including lymphomas, some forms of leukemia, and, most recently, multiple myeloma.

Currently, after years of painstaking research, CAR T-cell therapies have entered the mainstream of cancer treatment, said Steven Rosenberg, M.D., Ph.D., chief of the Surgery Branch in NCI’s Center for Cancer Research (CCR), an immunotherapy and CAR T-cell therapy pioneer.

“[CAR T cells] are now widely available in the United States and other countries and have become a standard treatment for patients with aggressive lymphomas,” Dr. Rosenberg said. “They have become a part of modern medicine.”

The clinical outcomes and financial details of CAR T-cell therapy will be discussed with you by your care team.

The above information as seen on the NIH/National Cancer Institute website, https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/research/car-t-cells

nbmtLINK Resources

The National Bone Marrow Transplant Link, established in 1992, strives to help patients, caregivers, and families cope with the social and emotional challenges of bone marrow/stem cell transplant from diagnosis through survivorship by providing free programs and personalized support services.

Are Most Eligible or Ineligible for CAR T-cell Therapy?
CAR T-Cell Therapy can be a life-saving targeted treatment, but many people don’t know they’re eligible. Dr. Kent Holland helps us bust that myth. CAR T-Cell Therapy is a game changer. Listen to learn more about this therapy and the many patients who will qualify. Many who may have very few options after relapsing from remission are learning that CAR T-Cell Therapy is life-saving, targeted cellular therapy.
The Who, What, When and Why Regarding CAR T-Cell Therapy
This month’s webinar focuses on the latest and greatest updates regarding CAR T-cell therapy. Dr. David G. Maloney, MD, PhD, Professor, Clinical Research Division, Medical Director, Cellular Immunotherapy at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center, will share which disease states are using CAR-T cell therapy, what is evolving and the latest approvals for this life-saving treatment. Kristin Kleinhofer, a leukemia survivor, will share her personal experience and details regarding her success with a CAR-T cell clinical trial.
Bone Marrow/Stem Cell/Car T-Cell Transplant Clinical Trials Explained and Examined: Why It’s Important to Consider Them
Dr. Asif Alavi, Assistant Professor, Clinical, Hematology-Oncology, of the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Center will share his professional expertise on clinical trials and why they are so important. Abbey Fueger, BA, BSN, RN is a Clinical Trial Nurse Navigator with the Clinical Trial Support Center of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and will help us better navigate clinical trials.

The information in these resources should not be construed as medical advice. Please consult with your health care provider regarding your medical decisions and treatment. The listed resources are not intended to be endorsements.