CAR-T therapy is the revolutionary new cancer treatment option that can help people avoid chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
The Blood and Marrow Transplant Program in the Stanford Cancer Institute— a National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center—is the only site in Northern California that offers this option, which is called an “immunotherapy” because it is driven by the power of each person’s own immune system.
Our physicians led the clinical trials that helped bring CAR-T therapy to FDA approval. The FDA fast-tracked approval for patients with certain types of lymphoma and acute leukemia who did not benefit from chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or stem cell treatment.
Here’s how the procedure works: Stanford Health Care specialists remove T-cells from the patient’s blood. In the lab, the cells are reengineered with a virus that will recognize and bind to cancer cells. The blood is then reinfused back into the patient, where CARs (which stands for chimeric antigen receptors) multiply and attack tumor cells.
Now that CAR-T is in use for blood cancers, we are studying the therapy’s value in other types of cancer, such as breast, brain, and lung. Ultimately, the goal is to use CAR-T wherever effective rather than subject patients to the toxicity and other issues associated with chemotherapy.