CAR T-Cell Therapy for Cancer Treatment

Traditionally, the cornerstone of cancer treatment has been a treatment plan that incorporates surgery, chemotherapy and/or radiation treatment. However, immunotherapy is another option that is showing increasing promise. Recent advances in the field of immunology have resulted in an enhanced understanding of the ways in which the body’s own immune system can be used to fight cancer. Specifically, immunotherapies such as CAR T seek to enhance the immune system’s ability to target and destroy cancerous cells.

What is CAR T?

Much like all forms of cancer immunotherapy, CAR T-cell therapy seeks to strengthen and build upon the inherent cancer-fighting power of the body’s immune system. This treatment involves giving patients modified versions of their own immune system T cells, which are white blood cells that help protect the body from illnesses and infections. CAR T works like this:

  • After being collected from the patient’s blood, the T cells are genetically reengineered to add a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) to their surface. CARs are specific proteins that can help T cells recognize a certain antigen on tumor cells.
  • The genetically modified T cells are then "grown" in a laboratory until there are millions of them.
  • When a sufficient quantity of CAR T cells has been produced, the cells are reintroduced to the patient’s body via intravenous infusion.
  • The CAR T cells may continue to reproduce within the patient’s body, helping to provide ongoing cancer protection.

Moffitt Cancer Center is one of only a few treatment centers that is certified to provide this promising cancer therapy. Currently, we are utilizing CAR T to treat several types of blood and bone marrow cancers, offering a new source of hope and optimism to many patients. Our nationally recognized research team continues to explore new ways to use CAR T and other immunotherapies for cancer treatment, and we are making progress every single day.

If you’d like to learn more about CAR T-cell therapy at Moffitt Cancer Center, call 1-888-663-3488 or complete our new patient registration form online.