In the first part of the process, T-cells, the workhorse of the immune system, are collected from the patient's blood. Then scientists insert instruction that enable those T-cells to find specific cancer cells. While the T-cells multiply in the lab, the patient receives chemotherapy to reduce the number of cancer cells. And finally, the engineer T-cells are returned to the patient's bloodstream, where they seek out and kill remaining cancer cells. For more information about this exciting new treatment, visit UChicagoMedicine.org/defeatcancer or call 844-482-7823
CAR T-cell therapy is a multi-step process that takes place over several weeks:
- Collecting the T cells. T cells are collected through apheresis. This simple, non-invasive process removes the T cells from the blood (similar to the method for blood donation) and returns the remaining blood back into the body.
- Supercharging the T cells. Scientists in a laboratory insert an antibody-like protein called a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) on the surface of the T cells.
- Multiplying the CAR T cells. CAR T cells multiply in the lab until they number in the millions. The cells are then frozen and returned to the patient’s hospital.
- Infusing the CAR T cells. While waiting in the hospital, many patients will undergo a brief course of chemotherapy. When the CAR T cells are returned to the patient’s bloodstream, they continue to multiply. They now act as “attacker” cells: seeking out, recognizing and destroying cancer cells that have the targeted antigen on their surface.
- After CAR T-cell therapy. Patients stay in the hospital for a minimum of two weeks for monitoring and treatment of side effects, including potential adverse events. CAR T cells can remain active in the body and continue to safeguard the patient against recurrence of the cancer, bringing long-term remission.
Convenient Locations for Cancer Care
You can also make an appointment with our providers by:
– Scheduling a virtual video visit to see a provider from the comfort of your home
– Requesting an online second opinion from our specialists
To speak to someone directly, please call 1-844-482-7823. If you have symptoms of an urgent nature, please call your doctor or go to the emergency room immediately.
For Referring Physicians
To refer a patient for CAR T-cell therapy, please call 1-844-482-7832.
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