One of the more modern techniques that can help you fight cancer is chimeric antigen receptor, or CAR, T-cell therapy. This relatively new treatment has shown to be effective with certain types of cancer and research is continuing to expand its use. Here is more about CAR T-cell therapy, how it works, its approved uses, and its side effects.
What is CAR T-cell Therapy?
CAR T-cell therapy uses your own T-cells to attack and destroy the cancer cells in your body. Basically, your blood is drawn and your existing T-cells are re-engineered with an antigen to recognize your cancer cells as invaders. These cells are then reintroduced into your body to seek out and destroy your cancer cells.
Who Is a Good Candidate for CAR T-Cell Therapy?
Unfortunately, this type of therapy is strictly limited by the FDA, though more research is being done to determine its effectiveness with other types of cancer. Currently, this treatment is approved to work with young people with leukemia as well as adults with B-cell lymphoma. In order to get this type of treatment, you must have also had at least two other types of treatments fail.
What Are the Side Effects of CAR T-Cell Therapy?
CAR T-Cell therapy is known to have potentially serious side effects. One of the most common side effects is cytokine release syndrome, or CRS. Cytokines assist the T-cells in doing their job. When a sudden release of a large amount of T-cells flow into the bloodstream, your body immediately releases more cytokine to work with them. Many patients often require more intensive treatment for a short time after the CAR T-Cell procedure.
CRS is one of several causes of side effects that include flu-like symptoms, from nausea and fatigue to low blood pressure and cardiac problems. You could also suffer from a weakened immune system because CAR T-Cells sometimes destroy healthy B-cells that fight off disease and infections. Therefore, immunoglobulin replacement therapy is recommended along with CAR T-cell therapy.
How Long Does CAR T-Cell Last?
CAR T-cell therapy works slowly and it often takes several weeks before you start feeling better. Since this treatment is relatively new, it is unknown how long it stays active in the body. There's evidence that the effects are long-lasting and many patients have had long remissions.
CAR T-cell therapy is approved for standard treatment in a limited fashion and is not available everywhere. Therefore, your oncologist may not automatically mention this type of treatment as part of your treatment plan. If he or she fails to mention CAR T-cell therapy, then ask about whether this treatment can help with your cancer.Share
13 December 2019
I was always very healthy throughout my childhood, but when I became a teenager, I was diagnosed with a chronic illness. Thankfully, I had the support of my loving family to help keep me upbeat during a time that could have led to me experiencing the depression that some do after they first learn they will have an illness for life. I am very grateful for the advice I have gotten throughout my life, so I decided to create a blog where I can share all of the advice that has helped me live a happy, healthy life, despite having a chronic illness. Since I am on a medication that suppresses my immune system, I have also studied up on many other illnesses and tips for avoiding them and treating them. I plan to post health tips for people of a variety of ages and suffering with various illnesses!