CAR-T and Other Cellular Therapies

Some of the most exciting advances in blood cancer in general, and in CLL/SLL in particular, are in harnessing and re-engineering the body’s own immune cells to fight the cancer.

Cellular therapies are a special type of immunotherapy that use cells, as opposed to drugs, to treat CLL/SLL. The first cellular therapy was a hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT), also known as a bone marrow transplant. In CLL, this is usually done using a matched donor’s stem cells. It may be curative, but infections and graft versus host (GVHD) disease, where the new immune system attacks more than the cancer, makes transplant very high-risk. CAR-T (chimeric antigen receptor – T cell therapy) is experimental in CLL. Patients’ own T-lymphocytes are harvested, trained to attack the CLL, grown, and then re-infused. Results in CLL are promising for this “living drug” but the data are early. Neurotoxicity and cytokine release syndrome (CRS), where inflammatory molecules (cytokines) are released causing flu-like symptoms or worse, can occur and even be fatal; however, these complications can almost always be successfully managed. Other cellular therapies include CAR-NK (natural killer) cells and TILs (tumor infiltrating lymphocytes).

Action Items for CAR-T and Other Cellular Therapies

We have some exciting ways to learn about CAR-T:

Please read our introductory CAR-T brochure, which is specific to CLL.

CAR-T therapy is a revolutionary therapy that trains the patient’s own cells to attack their CLL/SLL. The science can be somewhat complicated and advanced, but the results can be amazing. You can learn more about CAR-T therapy in this easy-to-understand CAR-T brochure that can be viewed in a digital flipbook format.

Flip through The CAR-T Comic Book.

This is a fun and simple comic flip book explaining CAR-T from the point of view of a re-engineered T-cell with superpowers, read by Patricia Koffman. If you are considering CAR-T therapy, share this simple introduction with family, friends and co-workers, and little ones!

Dr. Joseph Fraietta on CAR-T: watch now.

Dr. Joe Fraietta is one of the true CAR-T pioneer researchers whose work with his colleagues at U. Penn led to the first breakthrough successes. In this webinar he explains the underlying science.

Read Dr. Koffman’s very personal and graphic firsthand blog of his CAR-T clinical trial. He shares his decision-making process, the support he received from family, friends, and other CAR-T pioneers, plus all the good, the bad, and the ugly in the process… and of course his great outcome!

Please read our introductory CAR-T brochure, which is specific to CLL.

CAR-T therapy is a revolutionary therapy that trains the patient’s own cells to attack their CLL/SLL. The science can be somewhat complicated and advanced, but the results can be amazing. You can learn more about CAR-T therapy in this easy-to-understand CAR-T brochure that can be viewed in a digital flipbook format.

Flip through The CAR-T Comic Book.

This is a fun and simple comic flip book explaining CAR-T from the point of view of a re-engineered T-cell with superpowers, read by Patricia Koffman. If you are considering CAR-T therapy, share this simple introduction with family, friends and co-workers, and little ones!

Dr. Joseph Fraietta on CAR-T: watch now.

Dr. Joe Fraietta is one of the true CAR-T pioneer researchers whose work with his colleagues at U. Penn led to the first breakthrough successes. In this webinar he explains the underlying science.

Read Dr. Koffman’s very personal and graphic firsthand blog of his CAR-T clinical trial. He shares his decision-making process, the support he received from family, friends, and other CAR-T pioneers, plus all the good, the bad, and the ugly in the process… and of course his great outcome!

ADDITIONAL READING

The short answer is that it is certainly beginning to look that way for a lucky few. This month celebrated the 10th CAR-T anniversary of Doug Olson, who remains cancer-free with persistent CAR-T cells that still play WHACK-A-MOLE should any cancerous CLL cells dare to reappear.