Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy is a type of immunotherapy that helps the patient’s T-cells become efficient at destroying the cancer. For some DLBCL patients, it has cured their cancer.
The CAR T-cell therapy called Yescarta (axicabtagene ciloleucel) is FDA-approved for DLBCL patients as:
- A second line of therapy if the cancer returned within a year of the first therapy
- A third line of therapy if the patient had two prior treatments that didn't control the cancer
How Does CAR T-Cell Therapy Work?
“CAR T-cell therapies are customized for each individual patient. They are made by collecting T-cells from the patient and re-engineering them in the laboratory to produce proteins on their surface called chimeric antigen receptors, or CARs. The CARs recognize and bind to specific proteins, or antigens, on the surface of cancer cells."
Patients are monitored for a few days at the clinic following treatment to review if side effect treatment is needed related to cytokine release syndrome or neurological symptoms. Some patients may experience these side effects, however, most patients recover quickly with the help of in-clinic side-effect solution medicines. Researchers are also continuing to study more ways to help CAR T-cell therapy be more effective with fewer side effects.
Why Would CAR T-Cell Therapy Not Work?
- CAR T-cells may have problems multiplying inside the body
- The CAR T-cells may become exhausted (Researchers believe this may be linked to the proteins that turn genes on and off. A study showed that T-cell exhaustion was linked to excess oxidative stress and adding antioxidants reversed the T-cells' exhaustion allowing them to work better and last longer to destroy cancer cells)
- The cancer cells may mutate changing the membrane protein (antigen) that CAR T-cells need to bind to
about the author
Megan joined HealthTree in 2022. She is the daughter of a blood cancer patient and has found a passion for helping support patients and caregivers to advance research for their cure and improve their quality of life. In her spare time, she loves to be around family, sew, and cook.