Northside Hospital Cancer Institute Immunotherapy Program is one of just two programs in Georgia to offer the latest chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell immunotherapy.
TECARTUS™ (brexucabtagene autoleucel), from Kite Pharma, Inc., is the first and only FDA-approved CAR T-cell therapy for adult patients with relapsed or refractory mantle cell lymphoma (MCL).
According to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, MCL is a rare subtype of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. It results from a malignant change of a B lymphocyte within a lymph node, and it is a particularly aggressive disease. Treatment often includes chemotherapy and stem cell transplantation.
Immunotherapy is essentially strengthening and empowering a patient’s own immune system to find and attack cancer. It works by taking immune cells, genetically modifying them to be better tumor-fighting immune cells, multiplying them to great numbers (tens of thousands), and then infusing them into the patient.
In 2018, NHCI became one of a select group of certified centers in the country to offer Yescarta™ CAR T-cell therapy for adult patients with certain types of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The program also offers Kymriah® for treatment of adult acute lymphoid leukemia and certain types of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
“We are excited to offer our patients the first and only FDA-approved CAR T-cell treatment for people with mantle cell lymphoma (MCL), whose prior treatment either didn’t work or stopped working,” said Scott Solomon, medical director of Northside’s Blood and Marrow Transplant (BMT) Matched Unrelated Donor Program and Stem Cell Processing Laboratory.
“As in large B cell lymphoma and acute lymphoblastic leukemia, CAR T-cell therapy provides unprecedented efficacy in patients with MCL and is associated with an acceptable safety profile,” Dr. Solomon added. “We are hopeful that this therapy will provide long-lasting remissions and potentially cure for patients that historically have had very poor outcomes.”
Such transplants represented the first definitive proof of the human immune system’s capacity to cure cancer. Now, through studying CAR T-cells, cancer researchers are developing new ways to strengthen and empower a patient’s own immune system.