CAR T-cell Therapy: A Major Breakthrough in Cancer Treatment
In modern medicine, the four pillars of cancer treatment have always been surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy and targeted therapy. Recently, a fifth pillar has emerged — immunotherapy.
Immunotherapy, or therapy that leverages the power of a patient’s immune system, has steadily been proving itself to be an effective cancer treatment. Recently, a groundbreaking immunotherapy treatment known as CAR T-cell therapy has seen success as a viable treatment for certain cancers, in instances where the traditional four pillars have fallen short.
CAR T-cell Therapy Explained
CAR T-cell therapy uses a patient’s own T-cells to help them fight against cancers. T-cells are an essential part of the immune system and play a critical role in regulating the immune response against cells infected by harmful pathogens, or disease carrying organisms. Each pathogen carries with it a unique set of antigens, and T-cells are equipped with unique receptors that are specifically designed to target and eliminate virtually all of them. CAR T-cell therapy leverages the T-cells’ antigen fighting power and re-engineers them to target cancerous tumor cells.
How CAR T-cell Therapy Works
CAR T-cell therapy is autologous, meaning it requires a patient’s own immune cells in order for it to work properly.
The process begins by drawing blood from a patient and separating out the T-cells in a centrifuge. Then, with the aid of a disarmed virus, the T-cells are genetically engineered to develop special structures called chimeric antigen receptors (CARs). These CARs give the engineered T-cells the ability to bind to a specific protein, or antigen, located on the surface of tumor cells. The T-cells are then expanded and replicated into the millions of cells that are needed in order for the treatment to be effective.
The modified CAR T-cells are then infused back into the patient and the therapy begins. The cells continue to multiply in the patient’s body, attacking and destroying the specific tumor cells that they were designed to seek out. In a sense, the therapy creates an individualized treatment specific to each patient and their cancer.
For a visual breakdown, please reference this explainer video from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute below:
Current Uses for CAR T-cell Therapy
CAR T-cell therapy has been approved by the FDA as treatment for aggressive, refractory non-Hodgkin lymphoma, diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), primary mediastinal large B-cell lymphoma and for patients with relapsed or refractory acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). The treatment has been shown to be highly effective in fighting these cancers, with a full recovery of up to 92 percent in those who possessed Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia. While the initial development of CAR T-cell therapies has focused largely on ALL, which is one of the most common cancers in children, research has continued to expand in other areas.
There has continued to be promising data on CAR T-cells treatments used to treat adult patients with blood cancers. The rapid advances in CAR T-cell therapy has also led researchers to conduct clinical trials to see how effective it can be against cervical cancer, head and neck cancer and non-small cell lung cancer.
Potential Future Uses for CAR T-cell Therapy
Scientists are hoping that the benefits of CAR T-cell therapy can even reach beyond the scope of cancer. As of the date of this post, researchers out of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City are currently holding clinical trials to see if the therapy could be used to treat debilitating conditions, such as fibrotic liver disease, atherosclerosis and diabetes. With new possibilities being researched and discovered everyday, the future for CAR T-Cell therapy looks bright.
Immune Cell Banking for CAR T-cell Therapy
Since CAR T-cell therapy is relatively new, current cancer patients have no choice but use T-cell extracted from their already compromised immune systems. Using compromised immune cells is certainly not nearly as effective as using healthy cells. Immune cell banking allows for people to cryogenically preserve their younger and healthier immune cells for use in immunotherapies down the line. Preserving high quality immune cells, before the onset of disease like cancer, ensures that the patient is giving themselves the optimal chances at beating the disease.
How Can HealthBanks Help?
Since HealthBanks’ inception in 2001, it’s grown into one of the world’s leading private and public cell banking organizations. In 2019, HealthBanks became the first cryobank network to offer immune cell banking and storage for future use in immunotherapies. With the emerging success of CAR T-cell therapies and other cell therapies, such as CAR-NK and Dendritic, as a viable cancer treatment they have expanded their ever-evolving suite of cryopreservation solutions to meet growing demand. HealthBanks is proud to use the best automated technology and smart robotic storage solution to preserve your precious cells. No other private cell banks in the US uses the same caliber of technology to protect your investment.
Using the experience and knowledge of its leadership team, HealthBanks is fulfilling its mission to make the benefits of cell and gene therapies accessible to everyone.
Bank Your Immune Cells Today
Healthbanks offers comprehensive stem cell and immune cell banking options. Their state-of-the-art bioprocessing technology and world class customer service allows them to provide the best cord blood and immune cell banking experience in the industry. To learn more about their services and technologies and how you can begin investing in your future health today, visit healthbanks.us.