Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy is a type of immunotherapy that is designed to bolster the natural cancer-fighting abilities of the body’s own immune system. Residents of the Orlando, FL, area can receive this innovative treatment at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, where we use CAR T to treat several types of blood and bone marrow cancers.
Specifically, CAR T focuses on the body’s T cells, which are special lymphocytes (white blood cells) that are produced by the bone marrow and develop in the thymus gland. T cells innately have the ability to find and directly attack foreign cells that have invaded the body, such as viruses and bacteria. The goal of CAR T therapy is to "reprogram" the T cells to help them recognize and destroy cancerous cells as well.
At Moffitt, CAR T is a one-time treatment that usually takes place over the course of several weeks. Here’s an idea of what you can expect:
- We’ll collect a sample of your T cells through a process known as apheresis. From a needle inserted in your arm, your blood will flow through a tube into an apheresis machine, which will isolate the T cells and return the remaining blood cells to your other arm.
- In our laboratory, your T cells will be genetically engineered to add chimeric antigen receptors, which are proteins that can help the T cells recognize the specific antigens that are found on cancer cells.
- Your modified T cells will be duplicated.
- While your T cells are being reengineered and duplicated, you may receive chemotherapy to treat your cancer.
- After a sufficient quantity is produced, your modified T cells will be infused back into your body.
Moffitt is approximately a 90-minute drive from Orlando, Florida. For patients who need to spend more than one day with us, we can recommend convenient and affordable accommodations at our partner hotels, which are located nearby. Some also provide complimentary shuttle services to and from our campus.