CAR-T Therapy: The innovative treatment of lymphoma and leukemia
What is CAR-T Treatment?
Chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CAR-T) therapy is a recently developed strategy for the treatment of leukemia, the most commonly found malignancy in children.
How Does CAR-T Treatment Work?
An amount of blood is taken from the patient and the T-cells, a type of immune cell, are separated out from the rest of the blood in a special laboratory. The T-cells are then genetically engineered to cause them to produce chimeric antigen receptors (CARs). The CARs will allow the T-cells to recognize tumor cells, targeting and destroying the tumor. In fact, the CAR-T process turns the patient’s own T-cells into hunter-killers of cancer.
The engineered T-cells are given some time to multiply in the laboratory and then injected back into the patient. The patient receives chemotherapy while the cells are growing in the lab. The chemotherapy will suppress the patient’s immune system, allowing the CAR T-cells to perform better once they’re injected.
The entire process takes about 10 days, but patients remain in the hospital for a minimum of 2 weeks for monitoring of toxicities. This observation period may be longer.
What are the Possible Side Effects of CAR-T Therapy?
CAR T-cells are associated with significant but reversible side effects in 40-60% of treated patients.
These include a flu-like syndrome with fever and shortness of breath. This syndrome may lead to low blood pressure, chills and more. Neurologic side effects, like a headache and seizures, have been also reported. All these effects are reversible, but may be significant and require treatment in the ICU.
Who is a Candidate for CAR-T?
Due to the potential side effects, patients undergoing CAR-T therapy should be under the age of 50. Also, the therapy is only provided to patients who have previously underwent at least two leukemia treatments.
CAR-T treatment has been quite successful in younger patients. For example, young children have experienced a total recovery rate of about 85-90%. Approximately 80% of teenagers after the treatment showed a complete recovery from their leukemia. A success rate of about 70% has been achieved in patients of all ages.
Our Medical Center in Israel and other Medical Centers located in the US are continually striving to improve these success rates through constant advanced research and clinical trials.
Why Choose Israel for CAR-T Therapy?
There are only a few institutions that offer CAR-T as a treatment for leukemia. Except ofour Medical Center in Israel, these other facilities are located only in the US.
One advantage enjoyed by CAR-T patients in Israel is its cost. CAR-T therapy can be expensive in the United States.
Health care costs, in general, are much lower in Israel, with the same level of experience and professionalism as that found in American healthcare.
Another advantage is our Medical Center success rate with this experimental treatment, which is expected to grow as we gain experience and learn more about leukemia and the immune response.
Furthermore, our Medical Center offers the benefit of total CAR-T therapy in a single location. At other institutions, the patient’s T-cells may be sent to an outside laboratory for genetic engineering and cultivation.
This is not the case at our Medical Center. We have complete CAR-T facilities, so the patient’s entire stay is under one roof. This includes blood analysis, genetic engineering, chemotherapy, injection of the modified T-cells, observation and monitoring.
Finally, our Medical Center is also the home for some of the top hematological, oncological, and immune specialists in the world. Our doctors and support staff have received years of intensive training at the best medical institutions across the globe and have decades of experience. These specialists cooperate in order to provide our patients with holistic and comprehensive care.
Leukemia can be a devastating disease, especially when it strikes children. Yet hope lies in advanced medicine and quality care.
CAR-T therapy is considered to be one of the most advanced immunotherapy treatments in the world. This innovative treatment is the last discovery in the field of immunotherapy.