Currently approved CAR-T cell therapy is an individualized treatment designed specifically for each patient.
CAR-T cell therapy is a cutting-edge immunotherapy that uses specifically altered cells from your immune system to fight cancer in your blood. Currently, CAR-T is approved for patients with certain blood cancers.
Certain types of blood cancers, like some forms of leukemia and lymphoma, develop when B cells become cancerous, grow, and spread. A new type of immunotherapy called CAR-T cell therapy harnesses the power of a patient’s T cells to fight and destroy cancer.
CAR stands for chimeric antigen receptor. A CAR is a receptor that is introduced to patients’ T cells to recognize specific characteristics on cancer cells. When a CAR is added to the patient’s T cells, they become CAR-T cells. These reprogrammed cells are able to specifically target certain molecules on cancer cells and destroy them.
T cells are collected from the patient’s blood.
T cells are reprogrammed in a lab with all of the information needed for them to have a CAR on their surface. The reprogrammed T cells can now produce CARs on their own, and are multiplied in the lab.
CAR-T cells are infused back into the patient and begin detecting and destroying the cancer.
What are B cells and T cells?2,3
The immune system defends the body from infection. B cells and T cells, also called lymphocytes, are a key part of the immune system. Their mission is to fight specific infections and remember them in order to protect the body during future attacks.
T cells recognize foreign particles in the body, fight them, and even recruit additional cells to fight (including B cells).
B cells are defenders of the body. They fight against foreign particles by releasing antibodies (small particles that bind to the infected cell and destroy it). Sometimes B cells may start growing out of control and become cancerous, as in the case of B cell cancers such as ALL and DLBCL.
Kymriah Summary of Product Characteristics. Novartis Pharma AG; 2018.