At Astera Cancer Care, we are rooted in providing the highest standard of personalized care for our patients while offering the latest in leading-edge cancer treatments. One of those breakthrough treatments is CAR T-cell therapy, for patients with blood cancers and disorders, providing hope to so many.
What is CAR T-Cell Therapy?
CAR T-cell therapy is an advanced immunotherapy that works with your own immune system cells to fight cancer within your body. T-cells are extracted from your blood through a standard blood draw then altered in a laboratory to add a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR). This specific gene works as a special receptor to bind to a precise protein on your cancer cells. From there, T-cells with CAR are grown and passed back into your bloodstream through infusion. Once in your body, the modified T-cells with CAR begin to kill the cancer.
What types of cancer are treated with CAR T-Cell Therapy?
Currently, the FDA has approved the following conditions for CAR-T cell therapy in adult patients:
- Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
- Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL)
- Primary mediastinal large B-cell lymphoma
- High grade B-cell lymphoma
- Transformed follicular lymphoma
- Mantle cell lymphoma
What does CAR-T-Cell Therapy treatment look like?
CAR T-cell therapy is a 6-step process that begins with an evaluation.
- Initial Evaluation: This will include preliminary testing and screenings to determine if CAR T-cell therapy is appropriate for your specific diagnosis and care.
- Blood Collection: T-cells are extracted from your blood through a process that removes one (or more) components from the blood. In this case, the component will be T-cells. Once the T-cells are successfully isolated and extracted, the remaining blood is returned to your body. This process typically takes 2-3 hours and will require pre- and post-procedure steps.
- Engineer and Modification: Your extracted T-cells go through the genetic modification process to add in CAR. Once modified, they are grown in the lab until there are millions of modified CAR T-cells. Once there are enough T-cells for your infusion procedure, the cells are frozen until treatment.
- Conditioning: Before beginning CAR T-cell therapy, many patients go through a round of chemotherapy, known as conditioning. If required, this step will be included (or excluded) in your determined treatment plan during the evaluation stage.
- Modified T-Cell Infusion: This is a one-time infusion that may require hospitalization. Much like a standard blood transfusion, a T-cell infusion can take anywhere between 30 minutes to 2 hours.
- Infusion Recovery: Infusion recovery typically takes 2 to 3 months. The first 30 days is most critical in evaluating risk, complications, side effects and overall success rate. Regular follow up appointments will be a necessary part of the infusion recovery process until you are fully healed from the procedure.
What are the side effects CAR T-Cell Therapy?
There can be significant side effects as CAR T-cells acclimate to your body and work together with your immune system to combat cancer cells throughout your body. That’s why it’s critical you have our experienced team of physicians monitoring and navigating your care.
Some side effects may include:
- Cytokine Release System (CRS)
- Low blood pressure
- Severe Headaches
- Loss of B Cells that can lead to a higher risk of infection
Clinical Trials at Astera Cancer Care for CAR-T Cell Therapy
At Astera Cancer Care, we innovate today to create the standardized cancer treatments of tomorrow. Through our advanced clinical trials and breakthrough therapies, we create new hope for patients who may be resistant to chemotherapy.