CAR T Cell Therapy Treatment for Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma
CAR T cell therapy is a new FDA approved immunotherapy for treating non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Dr. Gwen Nichols, chief medical officer of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, explains CAR T's applications, process, and history as a cancer therapy.
Dr. Nichols: CAR T-cell therapy is a very exciting new therapy. I should start by saying, we recognized that this was a potentially exciting new area over 20 years ago. Dr. Carl June was a grant recipient of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society in, I believe, the late 1990s, '80s and '90s.
CAR T therapy is a way to take the patient's own immune cells and using a retrovirus, so the same kind of virus that causes AIDS, but deactivating it and putting in special markers so that it can find the tumor cell and then behave like an immune cell ought to and attack the tumor cells specifically. It's a very exciting new way to activate your immune system by using a Chimeric antigen receptor. And that's what CAR T stands for, Chimeric antigen receptor T-cell.
So, the CAR T therapy, the patient has to have their T-cells removed from the body so it's called leukapheresis or pheresis. They have to be on a machine. So, some of these T-cells are collected. They're then frozen and sent to a laboratory where the Chimeric antigen receptor, the virus, is put into the cells and then they have to be grown, frozen again and sent back to be given to the patient.