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Immunotherapy enhances the power of a patient’s immune system to attack tumors. An immunotherapy approach, called chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy, uses patients’ own immune cells to treat their cancer

How does CAR T-cell therapy treat leukemia?

CAR T-cell therapy is a type of immunotherapy that improves the ability of T-cells to attach to leukemia cells and destroy them. T-cells have proteins called receptors that bind to antigens (another type of protein) on cells that pose a threat. Once attached, the T-cells activate, multiply, and send signals to the immune system to destroy the diseased cells.

Different types of leukemia and other blood cancers have unique antigens. Sometimes, T-cells don’t have the right receptors for a cancer cell antigen. As a result, the T-cells can’t bind to them, and the leukemia cells grow out of control. CAR T-cell therapy changes the T-cells so they can attach to and destroy cancer cells. To determine whether CAR T-cell therapy can help, patients undergo a genetic test (a type of blood test) to identify the cancer’s antigen type.

How Does CAR T-cell Therapy Work?

In CAR T-cell therapy for lymphoma, a lab modifies a patient's blood cells to help them fight cancer cells in the blood. Once a patient's blood is drawn, a lab engineers the T-cells to gain a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR), which can bind to a protein on the cancer cells. The CAR T-cells are multiplied to produce more engineered T-cells. When there are enough of these special cells, they are reintroduced to the patient via a blood infusion.malignant plasma cells then produce an abnormal antibody called M protein, high levels of which are a hallmark characteristic of multiple myeloma.

Diagram of bone structure, plasma cells, and multiple myeloma cells.

Approved CAR T Cell Therapies in leukemia

Approved CAR T Cell therapies include:

Approved drug Approved drug indication
Tisagenlecleucel (Kymriah)
  • approved for patients up to age 25 with B-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia that resisted treatment or came back after treatment (relapsed)
Inaticabtagene Autoleuce(CNCT19)
  • the treatment of adult B-cell relapsed and refractory acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL).
  • CAR T Cell Process

    1. Leukapheresis

    Your T cells are obtained through a process called leukapheresis, which usually takes three to four hours.

    2. T-Cell Engineering

    The T cells are sent to a processing center where they are genetically engineered to target your lymphoma.

    3. CAR T Cell Transport

    Once enough of the CAR-T cells are available at the processing center, the cells are frozen for transport to your certified treatment center.

    4. Lymphodepleting Chemotherapy

    A few days prior to your CAR-T cell infusion, you will receive low-dose chemotherapy.

    5. CAR T Cell Infusion

    A few days after completing chemotherapy, you will receive your CAR-T cells at your certified treatment center.

    6. CAR T Cells Attack the Lymphoma

    Once the CAR-T cells enter your body, they begin to multiply and attack the lymphoma cells.

    Patient Stories

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